Man crashed stolen car on M11 near Chigwell and sprayed police officer, paramedic and nurse with substance

Francis Coyle was jailed for six years. Photo: Essex Police

Francis Coyle was jailed for six years. Photo: Essex Police - Credit: Archant

A man has been jailed for six years after pleading guilty to a series of charges, including stealing a car which was subsequently involved in a serious collision on the M11 near Chigwell and Loughton.

It happened at around 7pm on Friday, July 28.

Francis Coyle, 31, of no fixed abode, Harlow, was arrested on August 31.

He pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court in February to all charges, which included two counts of ABH with intent, common assault, theft of a motor vehicle, aggravated vehicle taking, driving while disqualified, and driving without insurance.

He was jailed on Friday, May 11 at the same court. Coyle has also been disqualified from driving for five years and will be required to do an extensive driving test, should he decide to retake it in the future.

The court was told that on that evening in July, police were called to reports that a blue VW Golf had been stolen from Queens Road, Buckhurst Hill while its owner was in a barber’s shop.

Shortly after, the car was in collision with a lorry on the southbound M11, between junctions five and four.

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The driver of the lorry was uninjured, but three people who had stopped to help those involved in the collision were sprayed by Coyle with a substance before he stole a white Vauxhall Astra from a member of the public.

One of the people sprayed was an off-duty Metropolitan Police officer who had stopped at the scene. Another was an off-duty paramedic, the other a nurse.

None of those sprayed with the substance, which was not noxious, were seriously hurt or suffered any lasting effects.

On August 1, at around 10pm the VW Golf stolen from outside the barber’s shop was involved in a collision on the A406.

The vehicle crashed into a taxi driver’s car and then three suspects, one of whom was later proven to be Coyle, left the scene.

Coyle was then arrested in east London on August 31.

After sentencing, Det Con Amy Kavanagh from Loughton CID, said: “Coyle’s actions were chaotic and dangerous and it is lucky that the consequences for those who he put in danger were not graver.

“This was a frightening and confusing ordeal for a number of people and it is satisfying to know that today he has been jailed.

“Coyle pleaded guilty but not before he attempted to evade justice.”

Coyle was sentenced to three-and-a-half years imprisonment for his role in the above offences, as well as a further two-and-a-half years for a separate case on behalf of the Metropolitan Police, which took place in Snaresbrook. These sentences are to run consecutively.