Suspended sentence for Sudbury man who lied to police after crashing vehicle into lamppost

Latest crime and court news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter
Latest crime and court news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter
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A Sudbury man who lied to police after his car crashed into a lamppost has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Tiago McLeod, 24, claimed that he was not the driver, telling officers that the vehicle had been stolen and then attempted to make a false insurance claim.

Last month a jury at Ipswich Crown Court convicted McLeod, of Mayflower Way, Sudbury, of attempting to pervert the course of justice and fraud.

He had pleaded not guilty to both offences.

The court had heard how a Renault car crashed into a lamppost in Shawlands Avenue, Great Cornard on August 16, last year.

Police arrived to find that electrical cables in the lamppost had been ripped out and exposed by the collision but the occupants of the car were no longer at the scene.

McLeod had been the registered keeper of the vehicle but officers had been unable to trace him that night.

The following day McLeod had reported the car to police as having been stolen and he lodged a claim with his insurers as it was a write off.

However, the jury heard, witnesses told police that McLeod had been seen standing beside the crashed car with a woman.

One witness who gave evidence during the trial, community warden Bradley Smith, claimed to have heard the woman standing by the car tell McLeod to leave the scene as he had been drinking.

McLeod told the jury that he had not been the driver of the car and that it had been stolen before the crash took place.

Today (December 18) the court heard that in an interview with the Probation Service, McLeod had subsequently admitted his guilt.

Judge Martyn Levett told McLeod: “It goes to show that when you start with one lie, you then tell a pack of lies and it wastes everyone’s time.”

Attempting to pervert the course of justice was an offence which often resulted in an immediate prison sentence, said Judge Levett. He told McLeod: “You escape prison by the skin of your teeth.”

McLeod, who works in the construction industry, would lose his job of more than five years and find obtaining future employment very difficult if he were jailed, said Philip Farr, defending.

Judge Levett sentenced McLeod to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months and placed him under a 7.30pm to 5.30am curfew for the next six months.

In addition McLeod will have to pay £2,000 prosecution costs, perform 80 hours of unpaid community work and participate in a Thinking Skills programme.

McLeod is also prohibited from entering any on-licensed premises for a month.