1. ITV Report

Driver who led police on dangerous 100mph car chase spared prison

John Ewan Cook sped north, away from officers, close to Junction 44 near Carlisle Credit: ITV Border

A chef who clocked more than 100mph during a long-distance cross-border police pursuit at night in wet weather has been spared immediate prison.

Provisional licence holder John Ewan Cook sped away from officers after initially stopping a Volkswagen Tiguan on the M6 northbound, close to to Junction 44 in North Cumbria, late on October 13.

Forty-year-old Cook left the motorway at the next turn-off near Gretna before streaking away from police who hit a top speed of 113mph while desperately trying to keep up. On his way home from a long shift in a Lake District hotel, Cook sped past built-up areas, along dark country roads and even through standing water during a 20-minute chase which ended when the vehicle - which had a burst tyre - crashed through a wooden gate in his home village of Eastriggs in the Scottish Borders.

Cook, of Pretoria Road, later admitted dangerous driving, no insurance and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.

He was sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court today when defence barrister Jane Dagnall described Cook as a "complete idiot" who had "panicked" and acted "foolishly".

However, Ms Dagnall also gave detailed mitigation about the father-of-three's remorse, the long hours he worked and his extremely difficult domestic circumstances.

Concluding that prison would have a "catastrophic" on Cook's family, Judge Julie Clemitson suspended a 14-month jail term for two years. She ordered Cook to serve a two-year driving ban and pass an extended test.

Judge Clemitson told him: "You made a series of incredibly ill-judged and impulsive decisions which put yourself, police officers and anyone else who happened to be on the road at significant risk."