Businessman jailed over web of lies to cover up minor prang in car park

A SCOTTISH businessman who spun an elaborate web of deceit to cover up his involvement in a minor prang in a car park has been jailed for six months.

Jonathan Lailey, 42, was approached by police last year after it was reported that his black Alfa Romeo had collided with a stationary Vauxhall motability car in a car park in Exeter, causing minor damage to the bumper.

Lailey, from Dundee, initially claimed he was not the owner of the car, Exeter Crown Court heard. He then removed the licence plates from the car and placed them on another identical car that he owned, the court was told.

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The court heard that Lailey forged papers in an attempt to show that he had sold the first Alfa Romeo to a Polish man living in Bristol, copying the man’s name and address from a small ad in the local paper.

When police sent forms to his home in Devon, he returned them saying “not known at this address” and then hid when officers called to check the information, the court heard. Lailey used his second address in Dundee to pretend that he was no longer living in Devon.

Howard Phillips, prosecuting, said that police became suspicious after seeing him hiding behind curtains when they called.

On another occasion they found him hiding behind a hedge in his garden.

The police told the court they were so bemused by his antics that they put the black Alfa Romeo on a watch list and monitored its movements around Britain using number plate recognition technology.

When officers finally caught up with Lailey, he confessed that he had invented a number of stories to try to evade arrest because his MoT certificate had expired when the car park prang took place in June last year.

Exeter Crown Court was told that Lailey was a payroll executive with homes in Devon and Scotland. #

His 14-year-long relationship with his wife was under strain at the time and he said his judgment was impaired by the long hours he was working.

Lailey, of Highmill Court, Dundee, and Farringdon, near Exeter, admitted attempting to pervert the course of justice, failing to stop after an accident, failing to report an accident, failing to give information to the police and careless driving.

He was jailed for six months by Judge Phillip Wassall who told him: “I find myself approaching a state of desperation thinking about this case. It is a quite extraordinary set of circumstances. You are a 42-year-old man of impeccable character with a responsible job.

“You own property, have a family and are held in high standing and yet I am dealing with a most extraordinary course of criminality arising out of a really minor road traffic accident.”

“This was not just one action, it was one after another. It persisted. You had every opportunity to come to your senses and restore yourself to your previous good character but you didn’t.”

“People who involve themselves in actions like this to avoid responsibility for accidents, they have to understand there are consequences.”

Joss Ticehurst, defending, said: “This was not a pre-planned campaign of deception.

“It was foolish and ill-considered and done at a time when he was befuddled by stress at home and at work.

“He is now painfully ashamed of what he has done and it will have a huge effect on the rest of his life. He has lost his job and his career prospects are dashed.”