December 2020

Fleeing sex offender ‘treated roads like a racetrack’ during high-speed chase

A sex offender “treated the roads like a race track” during a high-speed chase which ended when he crashed in a hedge and ran off.

Derby Crown Court heard how Matthew Bestwick “panicked” knowing Derbyshire police were looking for him and accelerated in a bid to flee.

The 30-year-old sped through Heanor and into Ilkeston, running red lights and reaching 83mph in a 40mph limit.

The defendant then jumped out of his car after crashing, jumped on to the bonnet of the pursuing police vehicle and went on the run for a month.

Sarah Slater, prosecuting, said Bestwick, of no fixed address, had been jailed in 2015 for making indecent images of children and inciting a child into sexual activity.

She said as part of that punishment he was placed on the sex offender register for life.

Miss Slater said under its terms he must notify the police where he is living.

But between December 2019 and the night of the driving offences, he had failed to do so.

She said at 2.05am on August 27 of this year police spotted a car being driven by the defendant and began to follow it.

Miss Slater said: “They activated their blue lights and he tried to and did get away from them.

“The chase lasted some four-and-a-half minutes and covered almost four miles.

“He sped around corners trying to get away from the police and drove on the wrong side of the road on a number of occasions.

“He went through some temporary traffic lights when they were on red and narrowly missed another car.

“It came to an end when he lost control in Manor Road when he crashed into a hedge.”

Miss Slater said the chase began in Mundy Street, Heanor and took in Wilmot Street, Church Street, Ilkeston Road, Breach Road, Mill Road, Chapel Street and then went back on to Ilkeston Road.

Bestwick then accelerated down Hardy Barn, through Shipley on Hassock Lane North, Hassock Lane South, Heanor Road and entered Ilkeston.

She said he then went the wrong way round a traffic Island at the bottom of Bath Street, up Manners Road and on to Manor Road.

Miss Slater said: “The police car crashed into his vehicle, he got out, jumped on the bonnet and ran off.

“He was not found until a month later in Burton-on-Trent where he was arrested.”

Bestwick pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving without insurance, a valid licence and failing to stop.

He also pleaded guilty to failing to comply with the notification requirements of the sex offender register.

Jailing him for 18 months, Recorder Paul Mann QC said: “You treated the roads like a race track

“This is a bad case of dangerous driving but not the highest level.

“It was persistent and determined at greatly increased speeds.

“You also had a passenger and you put that person at risk as well.”

Matthew Bestwick has links to the Burton, Mansfield, Mansfield Woodhouse, Nottingham and Cossall areas