WATCH: Drug-driving van driver led police on 117mph M27 chase – while one-year-old child was on his partner’s lap

A van driver high on cannabis has been jailed after leading police on a 117mph chase with a one-year-old child sat on his partner's lap in the passenger seat.

Mark Hilden, 24, was more than three times over the drug-drive limit when he tried to dangerously escape police at high speeds on a busy motorway in the pouring rain.

Mark Hilden

Mark Hilden

A court heard today a baby girl was at risk of 'extremely serious injury or worse' as she was being held by Hilden's girlfriend in the passenger seat of the white Citroën Berlingo.

A judge condemned Hilden - who has never passed a driving test and initially accused his partner of being the driver - for 'putting yourself before the safety of the child'.

The reckless driver tried to escape police for more than five miles on the M27 by Southampton before he smashed into a police car and a Peugeot 207 when he tried to exit the busy motorway.  

The driver of the Peugeot sustained an injury to his neck while the driver of the police car injured his back and Hilden cut his hand.

Pictured: Police dashcam footage showing the police trying to pull Mark Hilden over while he was driving the van.''A van driver high on cannabis was today jailed after he led police on a 117mph chase with a one-year-old child sat on his partner's lap in the passenger seat.  Mark Hilden, 24, was more than three times over the drug-drive limit when he tried to dangerously escape police at high speeds on a busy motorway in the pouring rain.  A court heard today a baby girl was at risk of 'extremely serious injury or worse' as she was being held by Hilden's girlfriend in the passenger seat of the white Citron Berlingo.''A judge condemned Hilden - who has never passed a driving test and initially accused his partner of being the driver - for 'putting yourself before the safety of the child'.  The reckless driver tried to escape police for more than five miles on the M27 by Southampton, Hants, before he smashed into a police car and a Peugeot 207 when he tried to exit the busy motorway.    SEE OUR COPY FOR DETAILS.''Please byline: Hampshire Police/Solent News'' Hampshire Police/Solent News & Photo Agency'UK +44 (0) 2380 458800

Pictured: Police dashcam footage showing the police trying to pull Mark Hilden over while he was driving the van.''A van driver high on cannabis was today jailed after he led police on a 117mph chase with a one-year-old child sat on his partner's lap in the passenger seat. Mark Hilden, 24, was more than three times over the drug-drive limit when he tried to dangerously escape police at high speeds on a busy motorway in the pouring rain. A court heard today a baby girl was at risk of 'extremely serious injury or worse' as she was being held by Hilden's girlfriend in the passenger seat of the white Citron Berlingo.''A judge condemned Hilden - who has never passed a driving test and initially accused his partner of being the driver - for 'putting yourself before the safety of the child'. The reckless driver tried to escape police for more than five miles on the M27 by Southampton, Hants, before he smashed into a police car and a Peugeot 207 when he tried to exit the busy motorway. SEE OUR COPY FOR DETAILS.''Please byline: Hampshire Police/Solent News'' Hampshire Police/Solent News & Photo Agency'UK +44 (0) 2380 458800

Hilden admitted he 'smoked a bit of weed' before getting to the car without wearing a seatbelt. Tests revealed he had 7 micrograms of cannabis in his blood - the legal limit is two micrograms.

Dramatic dashcam footage shows Hilden, who has eight previous convictions for driving whilst disqualified and was serving a suspended sentence at the time of the incident, try to flee police.

Hilden, of Romsey, admitted child neglect, driving over the prescribed limit of drugs, failing to stop for police, dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified and driving without insurance.

Andrew Houston, prosecuting, said after the collision Hilden accused his partner of being the driver.

Police dashcam footage showing the police trying to pull Mark Hilden over while he was driving the van.'Picture: Hampshire police/Solent News

Police dashcam footage showing the police trying to pull Mark Hilden over while he was driving the van.'Picture: Hampshire police/Solent News

Mr Houston said: "Out of the passenger side of the car comes Miss Matthews, [the child] in her arms. She appeared to be limping.

‘Mr Hilden was lying on the floor. He was hard screaming in pain, accusing Miss Matthews of being the driver.

‘There was takeaway food scattered across the inside of the Citroen.’

He added the driver of the Peugeot had his 12-year-old daughter in the back of the car.

Gemma White, mitigating, said Hilden has learnt his lesson since the incident, having spent time in prison for the suspended sentence he breached during the incident.

Sentencing Hilden to two years and six months in prison, Judge Nicholas Rowland said: ‘You drove at speeds of over 100mph on a winter evening when conditions were not good.

"A one-year-old child was sitting unrestrained in the front of the vehicle exposing the child to extremely serious injury or worse.

‘You tried to outrun the police putting yourself before the safety of [the child].

‘You have never passed a driving test, you have a terrible record for driving offences.

‘These were extremely serious offences for the reasons I have laid out, and that is why I will be imposing an immediate custodial sentence.‘

Dressed in a black sports top and jeans, Hilden howled and clutched his girlfriend as he was sentenced.

PC Dave Mitchell from Hampshire Police Serious Collision Unit said: ‘Hilden made off from the police in very poor weather conditions and at high speeds.

‘Not only did he put everyone inside that vehicle at terrible risk, he was also putting other road users in serious jeopardy.

‘And of course another member of the public was sadly caught up in this incident.

‘The fact that he had a baby on board who wasn't even properly secured just defies belief.

‘I think it's an important message to anyone who thinks they can get away with not using a proper car seat or booster for a baby or child.

‘You're putting that child at serious risk and you could face serious charges.

‘Hilden was also not bothering to wear a seatbelt.

‘The fact that everyone involved walked away without serious injury or worse, is really quite miraculous but he took a massive risk and the sentence reflects that.’