Police pursuit of pensioner driver ‘like something from Benny Hill show’

The pensioner's defence lawyer compared the chase to something from a Benny Hill show
The pensioner's defence lawyer compared the chase to something from a Benny Hill show

A pensioner motorist was pursued by police through a public park and just avoided pedestrians in a scene reminiscent of The Benny Hill TV comedy show, a court has heard.

Robert McCann drove into the Falls Park in west Belfast last month in a borrowed Mercedes car after panicking over a tobacco purchase, his lawyer said.

The 70-year-old, of Divis Tower in the city, was banned from driving and fined £650 after admitting a series of motoring offences.

Defence counsel Michael Boyd told Belfast Magistrates’ Court: “If it hadn’t been so frightening for the people he narrowly missed it would be comical.”

Police tried to get McCann to stop after checks revealed no insurance for the car he was driving in the Falls Road area on February 7.

A prosecution lawyer said the Mercedes failed to halt, instead travelling into the nearby Falls Park.

She told the court the vehicle narrowly missed a number of pedestrians, including a woman walking a pram.

The car was then abandoned before the driver fled.

McCann was arrested close to the scene and subsequently made admissions.

In court on Wednesday he pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, failing to stop for police, having no licence and using a motor vehicle without insurance.

His barrister described the case as “utterly bizarre”.

Mr Boyd said: “He got in a friend’s car to do a message and panicked when police wanted to speak to him.

“He had some tobacco that he had purchased from an individual who had brought it in from Spain.”

District Judge Fiona Bagnall likened the explanation to something out of television sitcom Benidorm.

Mr Boyd responded: “Or Benny Hill maybe. It was a moment of madness, thankfully no-one was hurt.”

Imposing the disqualification and fines, Mrs Bagnall also ordered McCann to pay a further £15 offender levy.