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Police chased drug-driving Totton motorist William Bedford has he reversed at speed down dual carriageway

A COCAINE-fuelled motorist reversed at high speed down a busy dual carriageway against oncoming traffic to escape the police, a court heard.

William Bedford (28), of Hayward Close in Totton, was driving a Mercedes which drew police attention on the edge of the New Forest because it had an outstanding warrant on it.

Southampton Crown Court was told how officers tried to stop Bedford in July 2020 at the Ower roundabout between the A36 and A3090 Romsey Road.

William Bedford appeared at Southampton Crown Court
William Bedford appeared at Southampton Crown Court

Prosecutor Lucie Taylor said: “When he realised they were police vehicles, he put his vehicle in reverse and reversed down the dual carriageway at some speed against oncoming traffic.

“One officer travelled down the road in the opposite lane in an attempt to warn other motorists.

“That officer, who was keeping up with him, was reaching speeds of just short of 100mph.”

The court heard Bedford reversed for three-quarters of a mile before “taking a detour” down a country lane where officers deployed a ‘stop stick’ in a bid to halt him.

Bedford again tried to avoid capture by “squeezing” between two stopped vehicles. But the stop stick punctured two of his tyres and he collided with the cars.

An officer searched Bedford and found a small wrap of cocaine as well as cannabis, scales and clingfilm in the footwell of his car.

Roadside tests showed Bedford had four times the legal limit of cocaine in his system, Miss Taylor said.

She said that when Bedford committed the offence he had four previous convictions for six drug offences and was on a suspended jail term for one.

Bedford had already pleaded guilty to dangerous driving before he appeared Southampton Crown Court for sentencing.

Mitigating, Christopher Gaiger said Bedford had committed a “bad piece of driving” and, if he had appeared for sentencing earlier, his offence would have “clearly crossed” the custody threshold.

But Mr Gaiger went on to say Bedford has made “exceptional progress” to change his lifestyle in the past two years.

Mr Gaiger submitted to the court the results of a private drug test taken the day before the appearance which showed no signs of drugs in Bedford’s system.

The court heard Bedford was a “changed man” who is now back in employment and in a steady relationship and in regular contact with his young daughter.

Recorder Donald Tait told Bedford: “Sometimes it takes something like this to happen to make people change.

“I’m giving you a chance – don’t let me down. Let’s not see you again.”

Recorder Tait handed down an eight-month jail term suspended for two years.

Bedford was also disqualified from driving for 12 months and ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid community work.

He was told to pay £425 in court charges plus a further £50 fine for breaching his suspended sentence.

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