Axe and pepper spray used in Southampton police chase

POLICE officers had to use an axe and deploy pepper spray during a chase with a dangerous driver in Southampton.

While driving a black convertible Renault Mégane, James Ian Rawles smashed straight into the rear of a silver VW Polo, a court heard

When a police car pulled up behind him to “pin” him in, he reversed into it “with such force the officers were jilted in their seats”.

Prosecution barrister, Rob Bryan, told how the 23-year-old then mounted the pavement in Copsewood Road in a bid to escape, and crashed into a wall during the dangerous driving incident on January 29 last year.

Using an axe, a police officer then smashed one of the Mégane’s windows and “deployed spray”.

The driver of the Polo also “tried to get Rawles out of the Renault”.

Appearing before Southampton Crown Court on Thursday, Rawles of Primrose Road, faced a charge of aggravated vehicle taking and property damage, as well as driving a motor vehicle dangerously.

He had previously pleaded guilty.

Mr Bryan told the court that Rawles had been driving the Mégane belonging to his grandfather without permission.

He had been spotted on Longhorn Road and then overtook “at least four cars” on the wrong side of the road in Woodmill Lane.

Defence barrister, Richard Tutt said that his client had been going to help his sister who had been assaulted.

However, the prosecution said there was no evidence of this.

Of previous good character, Rawles cares for his mother who suffers from health issues.

Despite describing his behaviour as reckless, stupid and impulsive, Mr Tutt argued his client had not reoffended since.

During sentencing, Judge Nicholas Rowland said Rawles had had a close save. He was given a nine-month sentence, suspended for two years.

Disqualified from driving for two years he must complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

Daily Echo | News