A dad who crashed his van, fled, then claimed it was stolen has been jailed for perverting the course of justice.
Tyler Blaney, from Ramsgate, saw his lies unravel when police discovered his saliva on the Fiat’s emergency deployed air bag.
The 26-year-old crashed his work van into parked cars in St Luke’s Avenue, Ramsgate, leaving the vehicle abandoned and blocking traffic in January 2020.
Having damaged two parked cars Blaney fled the scene in a dressing gown at about 7.30pm according to eye-witnesses, Canterbury Crown Court heard.
The father-of-one reported the van stolen the next day, claiming he dropped his keys outside his home, prosecutors said.
Suspicions were raised when Blaney later tried filing a claim with insurers.
“It was the insurance investigation that caused them to discuss matters with Mr Blaney’s employers," prosecutor Rhodri James said.
“They said he should only have been using the vehicle to get to and from work."
The investigation started to raise questions “about the veracity of what Mr Blaney told police”.
Officers would discover saliva on the vehicle’s air bag which matched Blaney’s DNA, the court heard.
Judge Simon James said: “You reported that the van had been stolen and maintained such a false account - and even now you have been forced to admit you were the driver, you claimed you had no recollection of the collision."
Perverting the course of justice “strikes at the heart of the justice system” and warrants a “deterent sentence,” he added, before jailing Blaney for 20 weeks.
Judge James condemned Blaney’s “persistent lying” and highlighted his actions “wasted considerable police time”.
Blaney pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice in December last year.
Wearing a white shirt, dark tie and Covid mask, Blaney became visibly distressed after his sentence was revealed.
Mitigating, Kerry Waite said Blaney had learned from his mistakes and only has one previous conviction - for driving with excess alcohol for which he received a driving ban.
“Had the defendant done the right and honest thing he wouldn’t find himself in the situation he has this morning and that is not wasted on him,” Mr Waite said.
“This is a defendant who is not significantly convicted, and does not have convictions for dishonesty.
“This is a case where the defendant is described as having risks that can be managed in the community and the assessment for re-conviction is low.
“This has been a salutary lesson to this defendant and lessons learned from this experience are not wasted.”
Blaney, of Hollincondane Road in Ramsgate, was disqualified from driving for 12 months.