120mph hard shoulder driver caged for a year

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court

A car thief led police on a deadly 120mph motorway chase after helping himself to the keys from a Lancashire garage forecourt.

Footage shows the terrifying moment Jamil Rabbani, 26, of Harlech Street, Leeds, undertook vehicles on the hard shoulder on the M61 at high speeds.

Preston Crown Court heard he had stolen the keys to the £7,000 vehicle while a sales worker at the Norjac Mitsubishi garage in Carnforth was distracted by a potential sale on August 14.

Staff at the north Lancashire dealership, on Scotland Road, later noticed a silver Ford Focus and Seat Ibiza were missing.

Rabbani is starting a 12 month jail term and is disqualified for 18 months.

Prosecuting, Karen Brooks said: " Just after 3.30pm an officer parked on the M61 slip road from Rivington services saw the Focus in lane two, travelling at 60mph. He made his way into the motorway. The defendant exited at junction 6 at Horwich, went all the way round roundabout and as he was half way around he accelerated, undertook vehicles and got back onto the southbound M61.

"The officer activated his lights. The defendant moved onto the hard shoulder and undertook a number of vehicles including a coach. He accelerated to speeds in excess of 120mph and failed to stop for the officer."

The court heard he went past junctions 5 and 4 and began to swerve between lanes to overtake and undertake vehicles and again drove on hard shoulder at more than 100mph. A police helicopter became involved in the dangerous pursuit before the car was abandoned in Kearsley, Bolton.

Rabbani was arrested nearby and the keys were found hidden under a nearby vehicle. He told police he had "been to the Trafford Centre" with his girlfriend.

He later admitted aggravated vehicle taking and driving without insurance, putting him in breach of a suspended sentence order for battery.

A 14-year-old youth is wanted in connection with the theft of the Seat Ibiza which was dumped in Otterburn, North Yorkshire.

Defending, Ben Thomas said: " Mercifully no accident was caused, no injury was suffered to other road users and no damage was caused to the vehicle he was driving or other vehicles.

"His personal family situation is he cares for grandma who suffers dementia. He found role of being a full time carer difficult. She has suffered as a result of him being in prison."

Recorder Gary Woodhall said: " I have just watched a video of the first half of your driving.

" It's clear that pursuit was at very high speeds. Principally you drove in lane three but when the need arose you were swerving between other vehicles including travelling on the hard shoulder on two occasions. Such was the nature of your driving the officer decided to end it as there was a high risk to other road users."