POLICE patrol officers are to be commended for their bravery bringing a speeding dangerous driver to a halt before he entered a dual carriageway heading in the wrong direction.

Judge Christopher Prince said he would formally praise the actions of PCs Andy Garside and Naomi Anderson when he sentences defendant Daniel Henderson, next month.

Henderson, 26, was appearing at Durham Crown Court, via video link from the nearby city jail, having admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, plus driving with excess alcohol and without insurance, at a recent hearing.

The court was told it arises from a police chase of little more than five minutes, mainly on the A181 from the outskirts of Durham to the Castle Eden/Wellfield junction with the A19, shortly before 10.30pm, on November 17.

Henderson was at the wheel of a speeding white Renault Clio which failed to stop despite the flashing blue light and siren of a police vehicle driven by PC Garside, assisted by passenger PC Anderson.

Rupert Doswell, prosecuting, said the Clio was travelling at increasingly higher speeds throughout the pursuit, reaching in excess of 100mph shortly before the culmination of the chase.

Henderson had also taken a roundabout in the wrong direction, repeatedly crossed the centre white line, made haphazard overtaking manoeuvres, at times forcing drivers heading in the opposite direction to take evasive action, before turning onto the southbound exit slip-road of the A19 at Castle Eden, travelling northwards.

Mr Doswell said at this point PC Garside took the “brave, but commendable” decision to end the chase before the Clio got onto the A19, as a matter of safety for drivers travelling in the correct direction, on the dual carriageway.

Near the bottom of the slip road he struck the offside of the Clio, forcing it off the road and into the side verge.

Henderson, who failed a breathalyser test for alcohol, and a passenger, were arrested at the scene

The court was told Henderson, formerly of Station Road, Easington Colliery, has served previous prison sentences for dangerous driving and other motoring offences.

Judge Prince asked for details of those past convictions, specifically if any involved police chases, as he is considering imposing the maximum 24-month sentence for dangerous driving, less a small discount as credit for Henderson’s guilty pleas, in this case.

Adjourning to allow the Crown to come up with that information, the judge said at the next hearing he would formally commend the officers involved in the pursuit, for, “putting their own lives at risk in trying to protect the public.”

Henderson was remanded to remain in custody prior to the new sentencing date, of April 9.