A LEARNER driver who forced police to abandon a terrifying high-speed chase around Clydebank’s streets has been jailed.

Gary McMahon drove dangerously, without insurance, without an accompanying qualified driver and without displaying L plates on Kilbowie Road, Second Avenue, Singer Street, Crown Avenue and Graham Avenue in the early hours of the morning.

An officer pursuing the 33-year-old gave up the chase after becoming concerned for his own safety – and, despite crashing his Mercedes into a car and a van, he still didn’t stop.

McMahon appeared for sentencing at Dumbarton Sheriff Court, when it was revealed that he had served a five-year sentence for assault and robbery and that he also has previous convictions for carrying knives, crimes of dishonesty and drugs.

Fiscal depute Emma Petterson said the chase began at 3.30am on September 5. She said: “A police witness in a marked vehicle on Kilbowie Road decided to stop the Mercedes to speak to the driver .

“The officer exited their marked vehicle but the accused immediately accelerated away, swerving around the police vehicle in an aggressive manner.

“He accelerated on to Second Avenue and drove off at speed. The accused was observed to continue at speed, turning right on to Singer Street, and right on to Crown Avenue.

“The police officer made the decision to abandon the pursuit due to the accused’s dangerous and very aggressive driving. But the accused was then observed turning into Graham Avenue at high speed and trying to negotiate a left-hand bend.

“He failed to do so and collided with a parked vehicle, crossed the carriageway and collided with a van, causing extensive damage to all the vehicles.”

This gave the officer the chance to apprehend McMahon, but Ms Petterson described how he violently resisted the officer’s attempts to detain him, trying to remove his baton and forcing the officer to press his panic button to summon urgent assistance.

Once McMahon had been subdued, a check of the police’s national computer revealed that he was only a provisional licence-holder and that he had no insurance policy.

Defence solicitor Chris Rae said his client suffered from significant mental health difficulties as a result of long-term habitual drug use, and added: “He regrets his actions and accepts his responsibility. He pleaded guilty at the earliest stage of the matter.

“He fully accepts that he took the wrong path and was aggressive towards police, and that that was a grave error – and he also accepts that that may well be an aggravating factor in relation to a possible custodial sentence.”

Sheriff John Hamilton told McMahon: “Your driving was almost as bad as it gets – and when officers, having broken off the chase, come to detain you, you attempt to escape and engage in a violent struggle.”

At this point, McMahon, in the dock, shook his head, prompting a rebuke from the sheriff – to which McMahon replied: “I’m just disgusted with myself.”

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The sheriff replied: “So you should be. Your record [of previous convictions] goes back to 2003 and includes crimes of violence, dishonesty, misuse of drugs and carrying knives.

“In 2006 you were convicted of assault and robbery at the High Court in Glasgow and got five years in the jail, but that didn’t seem to make any difference – in 2015 you were convicted of assault, and in January this year a jury in Paisley found you guilty of carrying a knife.

“Given the information before me, I’m not convinced there is any way I can deal with this other than a custodial sentence.”

McMahon – formerly of Crown Avenue, but currently living in Ferguslie Park Avenue in Paisley – was jailed for four months and banned from the roads til June 2021.