A RESTAURANT manager “flipped” and took to the wheel of the business BMW while over the limit, intending to kill himself, a court was told.

Instead of taking his own life, Kenneth Coats put those of other road users at risk on a high-speed chase having come to police attention after stopping to urinate alongside the car.

Durham Crown Court heard the nine-minute chase, at speeds up to 115-miles per hour, only ended when the BMW collided with a police vehicle.

It took place on the A167 in Durham, the A688 Metal Bridge road and ended at Bowburn.

Anthony Pettengell, prosecuting, said after his arrest the defendant gave a roadside breath reading containing double the drink-drive limit for alcohol.

The court was told during the incident, Coats was tearfully talking to a colleague by phone after emotionally leaving work, at a Tomahawk Steakhouse, in Ponteland, where he was angry after a staff member risked its licence by serving a customer after the 10pm-cut-off, at the time, on September 18, last year.

Mr Pettengell said Coats’ previous convictions feature motoring offences for which he received a driving disqualification, after which he failed to reapply for his licence.

Coats, 26, of Bridle Path, East Boldon, admitted dangerous driving, with excess alcohol and without a licence or insurance.

Stuart Graham, in mitigation, said despite a difficult upbringing, Coats, who has mental health issues, including bipolar disorder, worked hard to set up businesses in the past.

He turned to the restaurant trade, enjoying success at an award-winning venue in Newcastle, before running the Tomahawk premises in Ponteland.

Mr Graham said Coats worked “round the clock”, and had to be persuaded to take any time off, but, “the straw that broke the camel’s back” was when he saw a staff member serving a customer after 10pm.

“When he saw that he began to ‘lose it’, and ‘flipped’.

“There was no intention to drive that night, but after an 18-month driving ban, he thought he simply got his licence back, he did not realise you had to reapply.

“He was driving in tears on the phone and his only motive was to drive into a wall, to end his life, which is tragic.”

But, when police became involved the defendant was, “in a complete state of panic, still intending to take his own life.”

Judge Ray Singh, however, told Coats: “You had consumed a significant amount of alcohol and must have known that.

“You chose to drive that vehicle and, as a result, police suspected you had been drinking.

“It was a significant, serious, lengthy and concerted piece of dangerous driving, having taken the decision to evade arrest.

“By good fortune, and not design, nobody was hurt.

“You put yourself, members of the public and those police officers at significant risk.”

He imposed a ten-month prison sentence and banned Coats from driving for a further 23 months.