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Ashford man pretended to be undercover police officer using TikTok handcuffs then got naked after almost hitting family with car


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A booze and drug fuelled labourer smashed his car into a fence, pretended to be undercover police, waved around a blade, then got naked.

David Saunders brandished handcuffs to back up his claim which he had "for making prank TikTok videos".

He told witnesses, including a family he nearly hit, “the fence got in my way” after the high-speed crash in Beaver Road, Ashford.

But the 37-year-old then brandished handcuffs from his wrecked Vauxhall during a row with Terry Stuart, who he’d almost mowed down.

Saunders claimed to be a constable and, as one onlooker dialled 999, tried grabbing their phone.

When “frightened” witnesses demanded to see identification, Saunders drew a blade from his Astra and unleashed threats.

Witnesses were forced to flee the scene, prosecutors said.

David Saunders. Picture: Kent Police
David Saunders. Picture: Kent Police

Officers would soon corner the former soldier in a car park and demand he dropped the weapon.

But Saunders got naked in protest, became aggressive and was pepper-sprayed. Saunders discarded the knife in nearby shrubbery, it is understood.

Subdued, Saunders was transported to Ashford’s William Harvey Hospital where he refused to give a specimen.

Today the labourer was jailed for 18 months at Canterbury Crown Court for his "highly dangerous" actions on an afternoon in November last year.

Prosecutor Richard Mandel said: “In the course of that dangerous (driving) manoeuvre, although short in duration, was highly dangerous.

“He narrowly missed hitting a family and a witness.

'He stripped down eventually to complete nakedness and said words to the effect ‘where is the knife then?'

“Having lost control of his vehicle he collided with an island in the middle of the road, mounted the nearby pavement and the front of his car collided with a large wooden fence.

“He continued his argument with Mr Terry and asserted he was an undercover police officer, he produced some handcuffs.

"When he was arrested, among his key fob was a key to the handcuffs,” Mr Mandel said.

Saunders drew the “medium sized kitchen knife” and “waved it around in a threatening manner” as people fled, Mr Mandel added.

Officers soon traced Saunders to a nearby car park where he continued his threats and “stripped down eventually to complete nakedness,” the lawyer said.

The handcuffs he used in the incident
The handcuffs he used in the incident

“He said words to the effect ‘where is the knife then?” Mr Mandel went on.

Officers were forced to pepper spray Saunders as his aggression continued, he added.

Saunders refused to supply a breath or urine sample and gave a no comment police interview, the court heard.

An unidentified passenger, who Saunders blames for his actions, was witnessed leaving the crash scene.

Saunders, of Beaver Road, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, threatening another with a bladed article, impersonating a police officer and failing to give a specimen at an early opportunity.

Saunders narrowly avoided mowing down a family
Saunders narrowly avoided mowing down a family

It means he has 25 convictions for 41 offences, many for violence or offensive weapons, the court heard.

Handing down an 18-month sentence the judge, Recorder Laurence Harris, said: “A family with children and another member of the public were very narrowly avoided.

“You told members of the public you were an undercover police officer, when one person tried to phone the police you tried to take the phone off him."

He continued: “This was clearly serious offending and must have been frightening to members of the public who you narrowly missed when you crashed into the fence."

Sarah Selby, mitigating, said Saunders had the knife for practical reasons and handcuffs for “making TikTok videos” with friends “for pranks.”

She argued he drank four cans of lager, took prescribed painkiller Tramadol and his passenger convinced him to drive to a medical emergency.

She added he battled alcohol addiction after being bullied at school, with his habit intensifying after being wrongly discharged from the army and a family bereavement.

Saunders crashed into the hoarding surrounding the former HomePlus Furniture site in Beaver Road, which is set to be turned into the 16-storey 'Ashford Shard' development.

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