Published: 17:00, 22 July 2014
A drunken thug who sped off in a terrified woman’s car after threatening her with a knife in Maidstone town centre has been jailed for more than four years.
After being brought to a halt in the Range Rover Sport by police who deliberately crashed into it, Simon Eltringham declared: “That’s the fastest car I have ever stolen. I was doing 140mph down there.”
Maidstone Crown Court heard how the 34-year-old father lay in wait for the driver at a car park in Medway Street at about 6pm on May 24.
She noticed Eltringham staring at her or her car as she parked and walked to a tanning salon. When she returned about 25 minutes later she saw that he had changed his clothing.
Prosecutor Craig Evans said as she sat in the driver’s seat Eltringham threatened: “Get out of the ------ car. I have got a ------- knife.”
The victim was so scared she did as she was told.
Mr Evans said Eltringham pulled out a chef-type kitchen knife and brandished it close to her stomach, telling her: “I am going to use the knife.”
He took the keys to the £16,000 car and drove off, but was stopped in a “tactical maneoevre” soon afterwards in Tonbridge Road.
A breath test revealed that Eltringham was almost three times the legal alcohol limit for driving.
When interviewed, he made full admissions. He said he decided to steal a car after drinking five cans of cider.
He went to his room at the back of the car park and took the most intimidating blade from the kitchen.
Eltringham said he had not thought about where he was going and added he had not driven for a long time because he had been in prison.
He had previous convictions for assault and aggravated car-taking and in November 2012 he was jailed for three years for sex offences.
Eltringham, of no fixed address, admitted robbery, having a bladed article, dangerous driving and drink-driving.
“This was a disgraceful incident. You had been in custody for a while and thought you would like to take a drive" - Judge Charles Macdonald QC
He was said to have no connection with Maidstone but moved there after being released from custody in March.
Judge Charles Macdonald QC told Eltringham: “This was a disgraceful incident. You had been in custody for a while and thought you would like to take a drive.
“The question arises whether you are a dangerous offender. At first glance I was inclined to agree with the pre-sentence report writer that you present the relevant risks.
“It may be, however, that past low-level violence has been overstated, so despite the disturbing facts of this case, lack of remorse, lack of empathy and willingness to gratify your own impulsive wishes, I haven’t quite concluded you are a dangerous offender.”
Eltringham was sentenced to four years and eight months for robbery, dangerous driving and drink-driving and for having a bladed article.
He was banned from driving for four years.
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