A teenage car thief drove a stolen Mercedes into a house while under the influence of heroin and crack cocaine before running off. The victim, a father-of-eight and a carer, was unable to travel to work or pick up his children.
Bailey Hanlon, 19, took the car from outside the home of his victim in Cardiff on January 16. He was told by his daughter at around 7.55pm that someone was breaking into his Mercedes GLA and when he ran outside he saw the car being reversed out of the cul de sac in Butetown before exiting onto Lloyd George Avenue.
A sentencing hearing at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court on Monday heard police were on patrol in East Tyndall Street at around 2.15pm on January 17 when an officer saw the car being driven by Hanlon towards the Magic Roundabout in Splott. The defendant drove around the roundabout and almost collided with a grass verge.
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Hanlon then drove into an industrial estate at speed before pulling back onto East Tyndall Street, reaching speeds of 50mph in a 20mph zone on the wrong side of the carriageway towards Schooner Way. He continued driving on the wrong side of the road past a traffic island before returning to the correct side and accelerating towards Callaghan Square.
A police helicopter took over after the defendant was lost on the ground and the Mercedes crashed into a property in Crawshay Street. No damage was caused to the house but the car was severely damaged. Hanlon ran from the scene but was found nearby in Penarth Road. Prosecutor Jac Brown said the defendant was found to have taken heroin and crack cocaine before and during driving the car.
Hanlon, of Kitchener Road, Riverside, later pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving, failing to provide a specimen, and driving with no insurance or a licence. The court heard he had 13 previous convictions and was subject to a suspended sentence at the time for theft of a bicycle, possession of a knife and motoring offences.
In a victim personal statement, the victim he said needed the car for his job as a carer and was unable to attend a nightshift on the night the car was stolen. He said he was unable to provide transport for his eight children, and was unable to take them to school.
In mitigation, Richard Ace said nobody was hurt as a result of his client's dangerous driving and the pursuit by police was "relatively short lived". He said the defendant had a "troubled" upbringing, had spent time in care and turned to heroin and crack cocaine at the age of 16. He said Hanlon was now getting support in custody and was on a methadone script.
Recorder Alun Eynon-Evans sentenced Hanlon to a total of 18 months detention in a young offender's institute. He disqualified him from driving for 31 months.
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