Illegal immigrant with no licence jailed for crashing uninsured car in Romford during 95mph A12 police chase
PUBLISHED: 17:25 22 February 2019 | UPDATED: 08:09 25 February 2019
An illegal immigrant with no driving licence has been jailed after crashing an uninsured car through a garden wall in Romford during a 95mph police chase down the A12.
At Snaresbrook Crown Court today (Friday, February 22), Shukri Merdini, of no fixed abode, was jailed for 12 months after admitting dangerous driving, driving without a licence and driving with no insurance.
The court heard the 19-year-old had entered the UK illegally two years ago in the back of a lorry.
Merdini, who said he came to the UK to escape his family’s “difficult financial situation” in Albania, was driving a blue Honda Civic erratically when he was spotted by police officers in Romford Road, Chigwell, at 1.35am on Thursday, February 14.
When ordered to stop, Merdini sped up and officers began a police chase.
The Honda eventually made it onto the A12, hitting speeds of up to 95mph, before turning through another red light into Mawney Road, and crashing through a garden wall, into a number of parked cars.
Merdini then tried to run from the wreckage, but was caught by officers.
He had sustained injuries in the crash and was taken to hospital, where he was treated for whiplash and a number of scratches and abrasions.
The teen, who pleading guilty to all three offences at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court at a previous heading on Friday, February 15 – the day after the crash, claimed he had been sofa surfing with friends and colleagues for the two years he had been in the country.
He said that on the evening in question, because it was Valentine’s Day, he had been taking his girlfriend and a friend of hers out for the evening.
When spotted by the police and asked to pull over, he claimed his immigration status suddenly made him panic.
His defence solicitor, Miss Khan, told the court: “He was too scared to stop - he was of no fixed abode and has no right to live in the UK, and therefore drove on.
“He shows remorse for his actions and regrets the damage to the garden wall and parked cars.
“He has no reasonable justification for why he drove the way he did – he just offers remorse to the court today.”
Miss Khan also argued that her client was “considerably immature”.
After passing sentence, Judge Mohammed Khasima told Merdini he could expect to be ordered to leave the UK at the end of his stay in prison.
He said: “When you have served half of your sentence, because you are here illegally, what is likely to happen in your case is that you will be taken to a detention centre and deported to Albania.”
The Honda Civic the teenager had been driving had no registered keeper according to DVLA records, and despite claiming he had bought the car for £400 with a friend, the police were never able to trace the supposed co-owner.
Because of this, Judge Khasima ordered the car be seized by the DVLA.