Meat firm boss (28) in high-speed police chase
A young entrepreneur suspected of drink driving sparked an early hours high-speed police chase in the powerful car he had treated himself to as a reward for his hard work, a court heard.
Simon Mellin (28) shot past an officer’s car at between 60mph and 80mph on a 30mph residential Colne road in his black BMW M4 Coupe.
He refused to stop, accelerated away and sped down smaller streets to try to lose the police and escape, but crashed into a wall.
Burnley Crown Court was told even then he tried to reverse to get away. The officer got out of his car and put himself at risk attempting to halt Mellin. The defendant ignored police shouts to get out of the vehicle, didn’t switch his engine off and didn’t unlock his door. The officer ended up having to smash Mellin’s window with a baton and he was pulled out of the BMW, taken to the ground and arrested.
Mellin, who had been to Colne Cricket Club, claimed he came out fast after a “blazing row” with his girlfriend and had simply wanted to get home.
He was pursued after police had been alerted to an allegedly “drunk” person getting into a BMW M4 at the club. Mellin, the court was told, had been drinking, but didn’t give a breath test and a blood sample wasn’t taken.
Judge Beverley Lunt, who said he stopped because he crashed and not because he came to his senses, told him she was satisfied he thought he would be the over the limit.
The defendant walked free from court, but not until after he had spent an hour in the cells after being remanded over the lunch adjournment - an experience which the judge said she doubted would leave him for a long time. Imposing a suspended sentence, Judge Lunt told Mellin, who was said to be “completely terrified” of going to jail: “You came as close as it’s possible to come to going to prison.”
Mellin and his brother, Nick, run successful meat company Roaming Roosters.
Mellin, of Wheatley Lane Road, Barrowford, admitted dangerous driving on Byron Road, Windsor Street, Townley Street and Skipton Road, Colne. He was given eight months in custody, suspended for a year and banned for 12 months. The defendant was also ordered to pay £400 costs.
Prosecutor Peter Barr told the court police were alerted by a member of the public who contacted them just after midnight and told them somebody they described as being “drunk” had left a 21st party at the cricket club and got into a BMW M4.
Police went to Byron Road, Colne, and saw a black BMW M4 Coupe being driven. The prosecutor continued: “The officer reports the road conditions were poor, it was dark, it had been raining, the road surface was wet and there was standing water on the road.”
Mr Barr said the officer described the car as “hurtling” past him and he estimated the speed to be between 60mph and 80mph. He activated his emergency blue lights and sirens and gave pursuit. The defendant drove onto Windsor Street, heading in the direction of the M65, turned right into Townley Street and then went back in the direction of Skipton Road.
The prosecutor said the officer continued to follow. Mellin turned sharply left into Skipton Road, the officer was five car lengths away and the defendant accelerated away at speed, the officer estimating it being in excess of 70mph, again in a residential 30mph zone.
Mr Barr continued: “He crossed over the centre white line, negotiated a sweeping left turn and as the officer came round the bend, he saw the BMW crash into a garden wall at the junction of Skipton Road and Chatham Street.”
The hearing was told Mellin then tried to reverse and drive away as the officer got out of his vehicle. Police shouted to Mellin to get out of his car, he didn’t, the door was locked and the officer had to use his baton to break the driver’s window. The driver then unlocked the door and was removed from the vehicle and taken to the ground.
The prosecutor added: “It became plain the defendant’s breath smelled strongly of alcohol. He was taken to Burnley Police Station, where he failed to give a breath test. He was interviewed and answered no comment to all questions put to him.”
The prosecutor added magistrates had sent the case to the crown court as they said it was a prolonged course of bad driving “involving deliberate disregard for the safety of others”.
Gwyn Lewis, mitigating, said Mellin was asked to provide a specimen of breath and tried to do so, but he was feeling dizzy as he had a head injury. When he was asked if there was any medical reason, he said he felt sick and dizzy.
Mr Lewis continued: “His instructions are that he had consumed alcohol and it had not been his intention to drive at all on the night in question. The reason he drove is that he ended up having a blazing row with his girlfriend. He drove out of Colne Cricket Club fast in a straight line down that road, He just simply wanted to get home. He had consumed some pints of beer during the evening, but not an excessive amount. “
The solicitor said the initial part of the incident wasn’t a chase. Mellin couldn’t have reversed the car after the collision, as there was an element of shock.
The solicitor went on: “He was removed from the car in fairly dramatic terms and put to the ground. He wasn’t asked to provide a sample of breath at the side of the road. He was simply bundled into the van and taken to the police station.”
The solicitor continued: “He is very much business-minded. He’s spending 24 hours a day, seven days a week running the business. That’s all he has been doing, nothing else. He gave himself a high-powered BMW as a reward for the work he put in.”
Mr Lewis said Mellin was very specific in his instructions to say he was sorry for what he had done. The solicitor told the hearing Mellin was “completely terrified” at the prospect of going to jail.
Sentencing, Judge Lunt said Mellin had been determined to escape from the police and had driven at “grossly excessive speed”.
The judge continued: “We will never know whether you were over the legal limit of alcohol in your system when you drove in this way as you did not succeed in taking a breath test and no blood was taken.
“You thought you would be over the limit. It’s fortunate indeed for you, but more so for society, that you did not come across other cars, pedestrians and other road users.” She added there was no evidence she could find that Mellin was over the legal limit and she was not sentencing him that he was.”