December 7 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, October 5, 2013
There were tears in the dock at Norwich Crown Court as James McGuire watched video footage of the high-speed police chase which saw him cause serious injury to a cyclist.
The 28-year-old held his head in his hands as the horrifying moment of him crashing into the cyclist was played back to the courtroom, via the dashboard camera of the police car which had been chasing him.
Now he is beginning a 28-month prison sentence and has been given a stark warning by Recorder Michael Evans, who said it was “a miracle” the cyclist survived: “If this unfortunate man had died, your starting point in the sentencing guidelines would have been eight years.
“Fortunately for you, and him, he has not.”
The cyclist was Gino Schincariol, enjoying a cycling holiday in England and cycling along the B1145 between Gayton and Great Massingham in the west of Norfolk, on Thursday, June 7 of this year. Mr Schincariol, of Windsor, Ontario, in Canada, has been left with lasting effects after suffering severe cuts, a broken arm and a fractured collarbone, which have led to him needing a skin graft on his arm and not being able to clench his fist.
McGuire, originally from Glasgow but of no fixed abode in west Norfolk, admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving at Norwich Crown Court on Thursday, as well as the aggravated theft of the van.
Early on the morning of the offence, staff of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn had been collecting cash from car park ticket machines but left the engine running as they got out of their van for the final machine.
Chris Youell, prosecuting, said McGuire then took his chance and stole the van with around £2,500 inside.
He then sped down the B1145 at speeds of up to 80mph and eventually struck the cyclist. Two chasing police officers abandoned the chase to tend to the cyclist and McGuire then set fire to the van. He fled into nearby fields and buried his mobile phone sim card but a police sniffer dog found him and the card, allowing police to track where he had been during the chase – although the money has never been recovered.
Neil Guest, in mitigation, said McGuire had been at “rock bottom”, saying: “This was a sneak theft that simply got worse and worse and exploded into something far more serious.” Mr Guest added: “He fully appreciates that, but for sheer fluke, he could have killed someone that day.”
McGuire was also banned from driving for three years after admitting driving without insurance, a licence and failing to stop when instructed.
Detective Constable Gail Morley, who was in charge of the police investigation, said after the case: “This was a mindless incident which put the lives of road users, pedestrians and police officers in great danger, and all for an insignificant amount of money which James McGuire had stolen.
“The victim of the crash has suffered a life altering injury and also had to spend a significant amount of his own money on health care, all because of the reckless actions of this man.
“This sentence shows the severity of this incident and we are pleased to see that this has been recognised by the court.”