A BANNED driver led police on a ten-mile high-speed chase as he drove a mourner home from a funeral.

Bilal Havid reached speeds in excess of 100-miles per hour as he tried to shake-off his police pursuers between Delves Lane, Consett, and Shield Row, in Stanley, in mid-afternoon on January 10.

Durham Crown Court was told he carried out dangerous overtaking manoeuvres, forcing oncoming motorists to either swerve or brake sharply to avoid a collision, took a roundabout in the wrong direction, straddled the centre white line and “bullied his way” through heavy traffic.

Chris Baker, prosecuting, said when a police patrol car tried to overtake the Audi 8 he was driving, Havid swerved in front of it, to prevent it getting past.

Mr Baker said even in more built up areas the defendant drove at double the speed limit and eventually the officers pursing abandoned the chase due to the danger posed.

But officers in another police car ahead saw Havid abandon the car and walk away, spotting him passing a phone and papers to a female passenger.

When interviewed, he made no reply to questions, but the 26-year-old defendant, of Chester Burn Close, Pelton Fell, admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and without insurance at a magistrates’ court appearance in December.

The case was committed for sentence at the crown court, where the hearing was told of Havid’s three previous dangerous driving convictions and “numerous” other motoring offences.

Glenn Gatland, representing the defendant, said he was only released on licence from a previous prison sentence for arson weeks before his latest driving conviction.

He said on the day of the offence Havid went to a funeral, after which mourners went to a pub.

Due to his faith, Havid does not drink and offered to drive a distressed cousin home, despite being disqualified.

Mr Gatland said the defendant had applied for a provisional licence intending to take an extended re-test, but it arrived in the post the following day.

Judge Jonathan Carroll said the licence had not arrived by that day and Havid should not have offered to get behind the wheel. When police signalled for him to stop, he should have done so.

He passed an 18-month prison sentence and banned Havid from driving for a further three years and nine months.