A TEENAGE driver smashed through a garden wall during a high-speed police helicopter chase in which 20 other vehicles had to take evasive action.

Raaqib Rasool was 17 when he sped off in a silver Vauxhall Astra when he had no driving licence and no insurance, Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday.

Rasool, now 19, of Jesmond Avenue, Heaton, Bradford, pleaded guilty to driving dangerously on the afternoon of June 14 last year.

He was sentenced to 12 months detention in a young offender institution, suspended for two years, after Judge David Hatton QC labelled the driving “monstrous.”

The court heard that three police vehicles and then the police helicopter pursued the Astra from Sycamore Avenue, Bingley, on to Bradford Road.

Rasool, with four passengers on board, was doing up to 70mph in a 30 zone, overtaking vehicles and forcing them to brake sharply.

The helicopter took over the chase along Bingley Road and Saltaire Road when the Astra was doing up to 80mph.

After ten minutes, it tried to get round a bus and smashed through a garden wall, embedding itself in the front garden.

Rasool and his passengers ran off but he was apprehended.

A police officer involved in the pursuit said it was the worse piece of dangerous driving he had seen in his 14 years’ service.

Rasool had no previous convictions and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

Mohammed Khan said in mitigation that he was just 17 at the time and had made “a huge mistake.”

He knew there was a strong possibly of a custodial sentence.

He was ashamed of his behaviour and family members relied on him for support.
Rasool had completed a business course and hoped to continue with his studies.

There was a job waiting for him when the court proceedings had concluded. 

Judge David Hatton QC said Rasool had put other road users at considerable risk, causing many vehicles to take evasive action to avoid him.

He had reached “ludicrous speeds” before crashing into the garden while unlicensed and uninsured.

“Quite what you thought you were playing at, heaven only knows,” Judge Hatton said.

The suspended sentence order included ten rehabilitation activity requirement days, 200 hours of unpaid work and a three month curfew order.

Rasool was banned from driving for 12 months and until he passes an extended test.

He was ordered to pay £425 costs.

Judge Hatton told him: “You’re free to go with your very large bag I see.”