Judge gives 'one chance' to 18-year-old after BMW joy ride in Jesmond

Robert Ellis, 18, had already received eight cautions from police for varying offences when he wrote off a stolen BMW. Credit: NCJ MEDIA

A teenager who wrote off a stolen sports car after crashing at speed has been given a final warning by a judge.Robert Ellis had already avoided criminal proceedings for eight cautions from police when he crashed a BMW in Newcastle.

The 18-year-old had been subject to cautions for burglary, criminal damage, threatening behaviour, shoplifting, attempted theft, theft from motor vehicle and possessing cannabis.

When Ellis, of Longbenton, appeared before a judge, she told him it was "astonishing" he had no criminal convictions on his record and scolded him for his "extraordinary ego".

Judge Amanda Rippon said: "He has had more cautions than anyone has a right to. I know the police are busy.

"He has got away with a remarkable amount of serious crime before finding himself in the big boy's court, jumping over the youth court."

He was appearing in Newcastle Crown Court after stealing a car, which had significant sentimental value, that was later found crashed and written off - having collided with traffic lights and railings. Referring to a pre-sentence report, Judge Rippon said there "was not much that made me smile" about it.

She continued: "He says the right things but the probation officer correctly identifies an attitude which no doubt bears out because of the way he was dealt with, making him think he has got away with criminal offences.

"Just because the police have given him a number of cautions doesn't mean he can go on like Bonnie and Clyde, committing offences until he is shot. I can give him a different experience of the justice system which would mature him quite quickly."

On the night of 5 March 2023, the victim left his car parked on the drive of his home and thought he left his keys inside in Jesmond, Newcastle. He says he found that the following morning the BMW M Sport had been stolen and used to force his driveway gates open the wrong way, leaving £7,000 of damage.

The car was later discovered crashed and written off at Four Lane Ends interchange, where three people had been seen running from the vehicle. Ellis was identified by blood left on the steering wheel.

Ellis, of Kingsdale Road, pleaded guilty to aggravated taking without consent, criminal damage, failing to stop after an accident, having no insurance and having no licence.

The judge sentenced him to 12 months suspended for two years with 100 hours unpaid work, an 18 month driving ban and an alcohol abstinence monitoring requirement - meaning he has to wear a tag which will reveal if he has consumed alcohol.

Judge Rippon told him: "I dread to think what that journey looked like if I could watch it. I dread to think what speed you got up to, with no driving licence and no insurance."The extraordinary ego of you, thinking you could drive such a powerful sports car, off your face, without consequences. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've had young men before me sobbing, not because they are going to prison but because they have killed their best friend or girlfriend or both of them or someone walking across the road."It was just chance that meant nobody died like that, that night. It's chance your grandmother is in court now rather than standing looking at your grave because driving on our public roads is a privilege, not a right.

"After crashing, you ran away, like the little boy you are. You deserve to go to prison. At least then the public would not have to worry about you on the roads.

"But I'm going to give you a chance. One chance. I'm only giving it to you because you are 18 and you have not been convicted of any offences, astonishingly, before."

The judge told him if he commits any further offences in the next two years, or "dares to get behind the wheel of a car", she will lock him up.

Prosecutor Joe Culley added: "He has been dealt with previously with generosity."

Matthew Purves, defending, said Ellis is now in employment, is not taking drugs or drinking alcohol and has moved away from the area where he was at the time and is now living with his grandmother.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...