JAILED: Thief with no legs led police on 90mph chases in stolen cars
A disabled getaway driver who twice led police on high-speed chases in specially-adapted stolen luxury cars has been jailed for over four years.
Felix Ward had hand-operated rods attached to the brake and accelerator pedals of the automatic BMW 330 Sports and Audi A3 hatchback which were stolen in car key burglaries, a judge was told.
The 30-year-old topped 90mph before crashing in both vehicles, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.
Ward, who has many previous convictions, lost the use of his legs five years ago when a passenger in a serious accident.
The defendant and others from the travelling community had been to a wedding in Wolverhampton when he and three accomplices stole jewellery worth £4,500 from a house in Clothier Street, Willenhall, while the 72-year-old occupant was out on February 10 last year.
Neighbours noted the registration number of the Audi used by the gang which had been stolen from an address in Bicester, Oxfordshire, a week earlier, explained Mr Christopher O'Gorman, prosecuting.
The vehicle was next seen four hours later with three occupants in Lower Whitley, Cheshire, where it accelerated up to 90mph and swept over a 'stinger' laid by police without stopping.
Pursuing officers lost touch as it hurtled through country lanes before crashing into a wall.
Two of its occupants fled before police arrived to find Felix Ward huddled under a tarpaulin.
All the stolen jewellery apart from watches worth £800 was recovered from the car.
His nephew Patrick Ward and friend Patrick Doran, both 20, were found in a pub in nearby Acton Bridge hours later.
Less than a month earlier Felix Ward crashed into nine vehicles parked outside a Windsor brewery while escaping from police in a BMW days after its theft.
He abandoned the car - which had traces of his DNA - and was pushed away in a wheelchair by another unknown man.
Mr Iain Suggett, defending, said of the Wolverhampton burglary: "The travelling community had attended a wedding in the city, went for a drive and the rest is history."
Felix Ward from Underacre Close, Trowbridge admitted a string of offences including burglary, dangerous driving and aggravated vehicle taking and was jailed for four years eight months by Judge Dean Kershaw who said: "You have become a career criminal and menace to society."
Patrick Doran, of Oil Street, Liverpool, and Patrick Ward, from Vernons Road, Colchester, each pleaded guilty to burglary and being a passenger during aggravated vehicle taking.
Both received two years suspended detention and were ordered to do 200 and 150 hours unpaid work respectively.