Pocket money stopped over car crash
A young man who crashed his father's £100,000 supercar in to a neighbour's house has been handed a 15-month suspended jail sentence - and had his pocket money stopped.
Harry Bishop came home drunk from a night out with friends but in a spur of the moment decision drove off in the powerful Audi R8 without his father's knowledge.
The 19-year-old was unable to handle the car, smashing it into the home of an elderly couple, causing £25,000 in damage.
The IT apprentice, described at Birmingham Crown Court as quiet, thoughtful and hard-working, admitted aggravated vehicle taking, driving while drunk and without insurance.
Recorder Anthony Warner, suspending his sentence for two years today, told Bishop he had employed "fantastically poor judgment" getting in his father's car but took account of his previously spotless character.
Bishop was also handed 200 hours unpaid work, given a three-month curfew, and banned from the road for two and a half years.
The court heard the teenager had also been punished at home, having had his pocket money stopped, and been banned from a holiday abroad with friends.
Judge Warner said: "I accept the impact of these proceedings on someone like you has been significant, and thus in itself has already brought to you a degree of punishment: the shame and disgrace of having to be brought to the crown court in public and face sentence for these offences."
He told Bishop he could have "no complaint" if he was jailed today, but had to balance the young man's good character, and his potential value to working society once qualified in IT.
"Undoubtedly for you, going to prison straight away would have a disastrous effect," added the judge.
In the early hours of May 2, Bishop, who lives with his father, got just 100 metres in the car before ploughing in to the detached house of a couple aged in their 70s.
Janet and Harold Perry's front door was flattened in an impact so hard it also shifted part of the house off its foundations.
Naomi Gilchrist, in mitigation, explained to the court how a shame-faced Bishop, in the car with a female companion at the time, then took the short walk back home to explain himself to his father.
She told Recorder Anthony Warner that as a result the IT apprentice had has his "top-up allowance" cut off by his "very angry" parent, had been banned from a mates' holiday abroad, and now "has extra chores around the house".
"The effect of the top-up money being removed has had a significant effect on his social life," she added.
Immediately after the crash, Bishop's father marched him back around to the Perrys, and his son, of Netherstone Grove, Sutton Coldfield, admitted everything.
The Perrys, asleep in the front bedroom just a few feet from the impact, were left shaken but otherwise unharmed.
Paul Spratt, prosecuting, said: "What has happened is the defendant has, earlier that evening, been taken to town by dad, gone out with a group of friends and consumed a significant amount of alcohol.
"When he returned home, seemingly in the company of a girl, he decided to get into his father's motor vehicle.
"He drove the car, it was plainly too powerful for him, but in any event, he collided with the front of the address."
Ms Gilchrist said what happened was "completely out of character" for Bishop, who was "genuinely remorseful" and "fully understands the impact it will have had on others".
She added: "He no longer receives an allowance to top up the small amount of IT apprenticeship pay."
Bishop's work travel fares, his own clothes and lunches now have to come out of his small pay packet.
"There's little left of it and what he did have to enjoy life has been taken away," said Ms Gilchrist.
"The holiday ban - no doubt he was looking forward to going away with his mates - he's now been told he's not allowed to go.
"He's accepted it without question.
"Finally his father is a realistic man and can't expect a financial contribution to costs he's incurred but can expect him to do more around the house, and he has extra chores around the house."
Speaking after the accident Mr and Mrs Perry said they felt "no ill-will" to Bishop and said he went round days later with a bunch of flowers and a box of chocolates.
Mrs Perry, a retired bookkeeper, said: "We don't wish the guy any harm, but if it was my son I'd have to say to him he needs to compensate in some way - not in money, but in deeds."