A DANGEROUS driver who crashed his motorcycle after leading the police on a high-speed chase was spared jail despite breaching THREE suspended prison sentences.

Driving without a full licence or insurance, James O’Shaughnessy, 23, was spotted by police officers riding a Yamaha motorcycle in Colchester in June last year.

After the officers activated their blue lights in Whitehall Road, he attempted to make his escape, increasing his speed to 50mph in a 30mph zone and overtaking vehicles on the wrong side of the road.

Moving into Old Health Road, he took a junction too quickly, lost control of the bike and fell.

He continued to flee on foot, but was caught and arrested.

Ipswich Crown Court heard a request for a drug swipe was made, but refused.

O’Shaughnessy admitted dangerous driving and acting in breach of three suspended prison sentences, the first imposed at Norwich Crown Court in October 2018 for possession with intent to supply heroin and cocaine.

The second was imposed by Chelmsford Crown Court in October 2019 for possession of cannabis and possession of a firearm.

On the third occasion, in March last year, O’Shaughnessy was spared prison for affray, possession of an offensive weapon and possession of cocaine.

At the time, Judge Patricia Lynch QC warned him: “Make sure you do not come back to court again or you will be going to custody.”

But in court, barrister Brian Reece said O’Shaughnessy’s latest offence had proven to be a “full stop” in his client’s course of criminal conduct.

“From the defendant’s point of view the reason he didn’t stop is because he was wearing a tag,” he said.

“He wasn’t actually in breach of curfew, but with the experience he had of the previous two years it was almost second nature to try and avoid the police.

“It has been described as a crash, but he wasn’t really injured in any way as a result of that, it was as if he laid the bike down a little faster than he would have done.

“He was actually arrested for failing to stop for the police and his response to that from a kneeling position was ‘please don’t hurt me’.”

Mr Reece said a probation report had been “very positive” about his client, with character references highlighting the “significant change in his life” since he committed the offence.

The court heard he is now in employment and is a father to a young boy.

Mr Reece said: “The reality is when he was 18 he was a fool, and he fell prey to drugs and all of the false steps that lie in the path of those who get into debt with drug dealers. He was on the road to ruin.

“The court gave him a chance and even then he didn’t take it, but this event has really pulled him up and it is difficult to say he could have done more in the last 13 months to demonstrate that.”

Recorder Sally O’Neill QC was persuaded the best route to keeping O’Shaughnessy on the straight and narrow would be to keep him from an immediate custodial sentence.

O’Shaughnessy, of Forest Road, Colchester, was given a two-year community order, with conditions to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

He was banned from driving for a year.