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Drink driver plunges off 100ft cliff in Ramsgate during police chase

Dramatic footage shows the moment a drink driver raced over the edge of a 100ft cliff during a high-speed police chase.

Mark Johnson-Cooper crashed his Peugeot 207 Sport through a barrier in Victoria Parade, Ramsgate, before plummeting onto apartments below.

Footage of the car going off the cliff

Miraculously, officers found the 35-year-old alive but unconscious in the crumpled wreckage, Canterbury Crown Court heard today.

Johnson-Cooper had earlier pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and causing £20,000 worth of criminal damage to the roof of the property in Marine Road.

The court heard he was seen by police driving the car suspiciously with its lights off, while uninsured, at just after midnight on February 7.

When officers turned on their blue lights, Johnson-Cooper took off through deserted Ramsgate streets, reaching speeds of 70mph.

He mounted a grass verge, raced through red lights, and then smashed through metal railings on Victoria Parade, effectively bouncing off the seafront apartments below, prosecutor Caroline Knight explained.

The mangled wreckage of the Peugeot
The mangled wreckage of the Peugeot

“When one sees the state of the vehicle it is nothing short of a miracle he is alive,” she added.

Dramatic CCTV footage played in court showed Johnson-Cooper leading police on a four-minute pursuit in dark and wet conditions.

Psychiatric reports revealed various factors were at play on the night of the crash.

Dr Hussain pointed at Johnson-Cooper’s alcohol intoxication levels, desire to escape the police and suicidal thoughts.

Indeed, the doctor recommended John-Cooper commits to an alcohol and drug treatment programme to help clean up his act and improve his mental health problems.

Mark Johnson-Cooper will be sentenced in January
Mark Johnson-Cooper will be sentenced in January

Mitigating, Phil Rowley said: “This is a man whose state of mind was such that he was less culpable than could otherwise be the case.

“He now realises the very real danger he proposed to others. He clearly had scant regard for he own life at that point.”

Appearing visibly nervous inside the dock, Johnson-Cooper was told he must remain abstinent to avoid jail.

Judge Mark Weekes said he would take the “unusual decision” to postpone sentencing until January 20, for professionals to monitor Johnson-Cooper’s sobriety.

“It will give me the chance to see his willingness to change is genuine.

“It is up to you to resist that temptation and stay sober,” he added.

Johnson-Cooper, of Kent Road in Margate, will be sentenced for dangerous driving, criminal damage and driving without insurance.

He was granted conditional bail to be spent on house curfew, banned from driving for a minimum of 12 months, and will be sentenced at the same court.

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