Man jailed after major police chase
A serial motoring offender who forced an elderly woman to dive for cover as he hurtled through bustling city streets during a major police chase has been jailed.
Chris Houson, 41, was pursued by numerous police cars and a helicopter for 45 minutes as he drove erratically in a Peugeot 307 at speeds of up to 50mph through central London on the morning of September 24 last year.
He was first spotted in Farringdon Road at about 10am by a uniformed officer in a marked car, but Houson ignored the siren and flashing flights and made off.
He careered down narrow one-way streets, clipping other cars on the way, and twice mounted the pavement as he tried to evade police.
Houson also ran a red light at 50mph and narrowly avoided knocking two cyclists off their bikes, while a third rider was not so lucky and was dismounted but was not seriously injured, the Old Bailey heard.
An elderly woman had spotted Houson driving towards her and was forced to leap into a hedge to avoid being hit.
Houson's driving, described by one officer as "frantic", was caught on CCTV along the route until he was finally cornered by police cars which block his way in Russell Lane, Finchley, north London.
The court heard, Houson, of Drayton Road, Norwich, was released on licence half way through a five-year sentence for rape and had made off that day because he feared being sent back to jail for absconding from his address.
Houson, who also had a string of convictions for driving whilst disqualified between 1995 and 2010, admitted fresh charges of dangerous driving and driving while disqualified at an earlier hearing.
Jailing him for two years today, Judge Wendy Joseph QC told him his driving "defied belief", adding: "You just don't listen."
However, the sentence will not affect the time Houson will spend behind bars because it must by law run concurrent to his recall period.
Judge Joseph told him: "You are entitled to be released at the half-way mark. You and I both know that means this sentence will expire before the recall period expires. That is what the law says and that is where we are."
She also disqualified him from driving for five years and said he will have to pass an extended test before being allowed back on the road.
The judge said: "I know, Mr Houson, that in the past you have not been able or chosen to obey that, but you can see that each time you commit this offence the period of disqualification is longer. You just need to get through this period and get back on licence legitimately."