An Audi A3 sped on to a pub car park where customers were standing while it was being pursued in a police chase, Bradford Crown Court heard today.

Engineering student Evan Barker accelerated away from a patrol vehicle on Bradford’s Thornton Road at 10.30pm on September 18 last year.

Prosecutor Clare Walsh said the police had to ‘speed up excessively’ to keep up when he shot off almost colliding with another vehicle at Malt Kiln Lane.

Barker, 21, of Truro Court, Mortimer Street, Sheffield, braked and swerved before speeding through Thornton Village at up to 80mph in a 30 zone.

He did 76mph on Hill Top Road, narrowly avoiding parked cars before turning into the car park at The Black Horse pub on West Lane.

Mrs Walsh said people were standing outside the pub when the silver Audi appeared and came to a stop on a patch of grass.

Barker got out of the car when it was still moving and ran off through Thornton before being apprehended on John Street.

He at first said the police were driving too close to him so he speeded up. But he went on to plead guilty to dangerous driving.

Joseph Hudson said in mitigation that Barker was a hardworking man with no family to support him. Unusually for such cases, there was no-one in the public gallery for the hearing.

He had gained an engineering apprenticeship at 16 and was now studying for a mechanical engineering degree at Sheffield Hallam University.

Barker had no previous convictions and an excellent prospect of rehabilitation, Mr Hudson said. He asked for the balance to be tipped in his favour for a suspended sentence.

The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Richard Mansell QC, said Barker had two male pas-sengers with him when the police saw him speeding on Thornton Road.

He accelerated away almost hitting another vehicle when he turned on to Malt Kiln Lane and reached speeds of up to 80mph through Thornton Village.

“You could well have killed or seriously injured another road user, whether in a vehicle or on foot,” Judge Mansell said.

He stated that Barker’s issues with anxiety would have played a part in his decision to drive dangerously to get away from the police.

Barker was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with 200 hours of unpaid work.

He was banned from driving for 12 months and until he passes an extended retest.