Man who led police on high speed chase faces jail

Picture: TSPL
Picture: TSPL
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A MAN who sped through the streets with a terrified police officer trapped in his car is facing a lengthy jail term.

• 22-year-old driver tried to escape police, with officer trapped in back of his car

• William Stewart had been released from prison early following a jail term for stabbing a stranger

William Stewart, 22, led police on a high speed chase after escaping from them when he was stopped at a roadside.

He left PC Bryan Lamont, who was searching Stewart’s car for drugs, fearing for his life as he screamed that he was going to crash the car.

Stewart was stopped in his Honda Civic after police spotted him speeding in East Kilbride, Lanarkshire.

They took him to their police car and started a search of his vehicle after smelling cannabis on January 6 this year.

Attack

But Stewart, who was jailed in 2008 for stabbing a stranger, attacked PC Paul Watson in the back of police car before jumping into his vehicle that was being searched by PC Lamont.

He made off with the frightened officer and a kilo of cannabis in the motor and was only arrested after crashing into a wall.

A hearing at Hamilton Sheriff Court saw Stewart admit a total of five charges. Depute Fiscal Barry Dunne said: “PC Lamont left the vehicle to carry out a search of the accused’s car.

“The accused then lunged forward, punched PC Watson in the face three times then jumped between the two front seats and escaped.

“He then ran to his own vehicle and drove off at speed with PC Lamont in the car.

“The accused shouted repeatedly at police witness Lamont to get out while still driving at speed.

“The accused again screamed at the officer to get out the car and said that if he didn’t he would crash it.

“Stewart continued to shout and swear, repeating ‘you’re f***ed now’.

CS gas

PC Lamont dived into the rear seat of the car because he feared for his safety and put his seatbelt on.

“He threatened to spray the accused with CS gas if he did not stop the vehicle. The accused continued to drive erratically and at speed.

“The accused then drove in to a small wall and made off. He was apprehended and restrained a short time later. “

A search of the car uncovered cannabis worth £6000, plant pots, bags of compost and £240 in cash.

Defence lawyer Peter Malone said Stewart was back behind bars as he had been released early from prison for a vicious assault.

He said: “Mr Stewart has one previous conviction, albeit a very serious one.

“As a result of this matter he was recalled by the Scottish Ministers and his earliest date of release is June 2016. I would ask that the court calls for reports before sentencing.”

Sheriff Alasdair McFadyen said: “I am calling for reports in order that I can consider all sentencing options to ensure the public’s safety.”

Stewart was jailed for six years in 2008 after he and a friend battered and slashed innocent Brett James as he walked home from watching a Scotland v Italy football match.

He will be sentenced next month.