Published: 06:00, 26 January 2021
| Updated: 15:47, 26 January 2021
A man took police on a high-speed car chase, weaving in and out of traffic and shooting the wrong way round a roundabout before fleeing from the moving vehicle.
When caught Mark Dawkins even told police he didn't have a licence or insurance but three-and-a-half years later a judge has been forced to drastically slash his expected jail sentence due to the delay.
Dawkins, now 25, was arrested on August 23 2017.
Maidstone Crown Court heard had he been charged immediately he could have expected a prison sentence of between four to six months.
But because of the delay, the prosecution had to drop the less serious driving without a licence or insurance matters - because of time-limit restraints.
Prosecutor Ed Fowler told Judge Julian Smith that police had been looking into other allegations but they were later dropped.
Now Dawkins, of Felderland Road, in Park Wood, Maidstone, can expect to be released within five weeks for his "dangerous and stupid" driving along the A12 near Ipswich.
Mr Fowler at 3pm on June 23 police saw Dawkins at the wheel of a Citroen which had been reported stolen.
They gave chase, during which time the car twice went through red lights, before navigating a roundabout the wrong way and weaving in and out of traffic at speeds of between 55 and 70 mph.
The prosecutor said after turning into a dead end Dawkins jumped from the moving car and tried to run across a field.
Mr Fowler added: "He was shouted at as he crossed the field and he then put his hands in the air and said: 'OK I'll stop'.
"He said he was looking to kill himself."
As a result of his arresthe was recalled to prison to serve the remainder of an earlier sentence.
In a separate incident on May 20 last year he went into the Co-op in Northumberland Road, in Shepway, Maidstone, and ran out with £37.54 worth of meat.
Dawkins admitted dangerous driving and theft and was given a sentence of 120 days and banned from driving for 13 months.
The judge told him: "You admitted what you did at the roadside in August 2017 but it has taken this time for it to come before the court.
"Bluntly, it is a case that should have been dealt with much closer to the time and the reality is you would have faced a sentence of imprisonment of between four to six months."