A MOTORIST mourning the death of his partner led police on a lengthy and at times high speed car chase, a court was told

Anthony Shoulder had a female passenger in the Mercedes C220 he was driving during the protracted pursuit in the early hours of May 25 last year, the morning after the day of his partner’s funeral.

Durham Crown Court heard that officers on patrol in Darlington were asked to look out for the Mercedes which failed to stop for police in the Bishop Auckland area.

Rachel Masters, prosecuting, said shortly before 3am the car was spotted at Cockerton Green.

Following it towards Walworth, the officers noticed it accelerated considerably as it travelled down a single-track road at 60-miles per hour, before turning down another narrow track to Walworth Gate, at 80-mph.

Shoulder drove through a crossroads without breaking and turned onto the A68, where he slowed to walking pace.

Miss Masters said the police driver felt Shoulder may have been considering reverse ramming his car, so kept a distance between them, before the Mercedes again accelerated, heading towards West Auckland.

Shoulder at one point exceeded 100-mph, at times driving on the wrong side of the road, and so police deployed the stinger, which began deflating the tyres, as Shoulder carried onto the A688 past West Auckland.

Miss Masters said approaching St Helen Auckland the tyres deflated completely and police brought the chase to a halt by “boxing in” the Mercedes.

As officers brought Shoulder from the car they noticed he smelled of intoxicants.

He, told them he had “lots of drugs” on him, but refused to provide a breath specimen at the police station.

The 28-year-old defendant, of Wensleydale Square, Bishop Auckland, admitted dangerous driving and failing to provide a breath specimen.

Simon Walker, mitigating, said among 40 past offences on his record, Shoulder has no previous convictions for dangerous driving.

He appeared in court via video link from Holme House Prison, in Stockton, where he is serving a short sentence imposed in December for driving while disqualified and with excess alcohol, for which he is not due to be released until February 4.

Mr Walker said after his partner’s funeral, following her death earlier in May from bone cancer, Shoulder was, “quite frankly, not thinking straight”.

“It was over a considerable distance and, more by luck than judgement, no-one was injured.”

Judge James Adkin said Shoulder posed a “significant risk” to all road-users, including police, adding that his passenger, “must have been terrified.”

He imposed an 11-month prison sentence and banned Shoulder from driving for three years.