A teenager in court over a police chase in which he reached speeds of 180mph on his motorbike leapt out of the dock and ran out as he was handed a prison sentence.
Marian Dragoi, 19, jumped red lights, mounted pavements and rode on the wrong side of the hard shoulder on the M1 during the pursuit on May 20 last year, which lasted over 30 minutes and involved a police helicopter.
He was jailed for 46 weeks at Wood Green Crown Court on Thursday for dangerous driving, failing to stop for police, driving a motor vehicle without a licence and driving without insurance – offences he had admitted at a previous hearing.
But after Judge Andrew Holmes read out of the sentence, the defendant, standing in the dock wearing a shark mouth face mask, vaulted the chest-high barrier and made his way to the door.
The 19-year-old, of Teynton Terrace, Haringey, fell to the floor as he leapt out but quickly got back up and ran out of the courtroom on the fourth floor of the building, while being chased by two security guards.
He made it down four storeys to the building’s entrance before being stopped by two police officers and other security guards, the court heard.
“It does not amount to contempt of court but amounts to a criminal offence,” the judge told those remaining in the courtroom, adding that it was a matter to now be investigated by the police.
Officers had spotted Dragoi’s high-powered bike, with a false number plate, at around 9.20pm on May 20 last year in the Wood Green area of north London.
During the half-hour pursuit officers were assisted by the National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter, which reported the teenager hitting speeds of 70mph in a 20mph zone.
The defendant, who was wearing a helmet but no other protective clothing, was weaving in and out of vehicles and clocked driving speeds of up to 180mph on the M1.
He rode the wrong way along the motorway’s hard shoulder to refuel at Newport Pagnell services, where he was stopped on the forecourt of the petrol station and arrested.
The 19-year-old tested positive for cocaine following the pursuit but no charges were brought against him, the court heard.
Nadia Semlali, defending, said that it was a “moment of madness” and that the defendant understood the seriousness of the offence.
“He has learnt from the error of his ways and it is something he does not intend to repeat,” she told the court.
She said the 19-year-old had been working on a construction site as a traffic marshal and had been studying business at college, with aspirations of going to university.
Sentencing, Mr Holmes told the teenager he had been driving at “terrifying speeds”, adding: “It is difficult to imagine a more serious case of dangerous driving.
“In 20 mile-per-hour areas you were doing 50 to 60, you were making hard turns, going on to pavements, every light you came across you went across.
“Knowing you were putting yourself at serious risk of harm and other members of the public.”
The court heard that the 19-year-old paid for half of the rent of his family home and took his autistic younger sister to and from school.
Mr Holmes added: “You have let not only yourself down but your family down for the actions you engaged in.”
As well as being jailed for 46 weeks, Dragoi was disqualified from driving for two years and five months.