A COUPLE were spotted on foot walking through a town market place, minutes after being in a car involved in a high-speed chase with police, a court was told.

Ben John Cahill and his girlfriend were seen walking through the centre of Ferryhill, shortly after being recognised as the driver and passenger in a Mercedes C22 pursued by police for a short distance on the nearby A167.

Durham Crown Court heard that the officers, in a marked police car, tried to stop the Mercedes after it was seen being driven by Cahill, a disqualified driver, near Chilton Service Station at 8.15pm on Saturday November 30.

Chris Wood, prosecuting, said the police car lights were illuminated and the Mercedes came to a halt.

But, when an officer approached the vehicle to speak to Cahill, the Mercedes reverse rammed the police car, before speeding away.

Dr Wood said as the police vehicle was not a traffic car, it then struggled to keep up with the speeding Mercedes, despite at one point reaching 110-miles per hour.

The officers lost sight of it, in Ferryhill, but while driving round looking for it, saw Cahill and his partner.

One officer spoke to Cahill and the other approached his partner, who confirmed she was he passenger in the Mercedes and conceded she was terrified at the manner of his driving, having repeatedly urged him to slow down.

The Mercedes was found abandoned in a nearby street.

Cahill, 29, of Emerald Walk, Chilton, admitted dangerous driving, while disqualified and without insurance, plus failing to stop after an accident and for police.

The court heard he was banned from driving for a year last August after a conviction for excess alcohol, but as recently as November 4 committed a further offence of driving while disqualified.

Lorraine Mustard, mitigating, said he only took to the wheel as they were going out that evening and, in the shoes his partner was wearing, she found it hard to drive.

“He made the mistake by agreeing to drive and compounded it by the way he drove and the collision,” which she said Cahill claimed was accidental.

She urged Judge Jonathan Carroll to pass a suspended sentence so Cahill could continue to run his newly started motor mechanics business, employing two people.

But Judge Carroll, who said he did not accept the collision was an accident, imposed a one-year immediate prison sentence and banned Cahill from driving for two years.