A driver branded as a ‘fantasist’ by the sentencing judge has a received a 12-month prison sentence for misleading the police over a simple speeding offence. Coming just weeks after a Range Rover driver was jailed for perverting the course of justice, it’s clear some motorists are willing to take serious risks to avoid penalties for speeding.
Christopher Henry, of Weston-on-the-Green, Oxfordshire, was caught speeding by a Hampshire Police mobile camera van more than two years ago in February 2016. Rather than admitting the offence, Henry began an elaborate trail of deceit more akin to a James Bond movie rather than a simple traffic offence.
At the time, Henry was driving a Land Rover Freelander registered to his ex-wife. Henry intercepted the documents issued by Hampshire Constabulary, completing the paperwork in his ex-wife’s name. He claimed a French national was the new owner of the car, and that the man lived at his address.
The story took an ever stranger twist when Henry completed the paperwork then sent to the non-existent French national, stating that the real driver was a man called George Harris who lived on the remote Isle of Lewis in Scotland.
Henry was very much mistaken in his belief that the police force wouldn’t expend much effort investigating a speeding ticket. Having found no record of the fictional men, the police contacted Interpol to assist with investigations in France, who found that the Frenchman’s name was taken from a wax museum, with his given address a hotel.
Making contact with the postmistress on the Isle of Lewis, police discovered that she had no record of any of the names given, or Henry himself, despite her having lived her entire life on the island.
Henry was finally caught by the police finding his fingerprints on the paperwork submitted, but most significantly by voice recordings of calls made to the AA by him from when the Land Rover Freelander had broken down. When questioned, Henry had previously denied ever driving the vehicle.
The trial jury was presented with the elaborate tale, along with details of the false email accounts, falsified dates of sale provided to the DVLA, and doctored insurance details. Taking just 40 minutes to reach a verdict, the jury found the 52-year-old Henry guilty on three counts of perverting the course of justice.
A motorist was today branded a “fantasist” akin to “Walter Mitty” by a judge, for creating an extraordinary web of deceit to avoid a speeding ticket. Christopher Henry, 52, from Weston-on-the-Green in Oxfordshire has been jailed for 12 months. Details >>> https://t.co/BGEGMF7JIe pic.twitter.com/07ZQNopUOl
— Hants Roads Policing (@HantsPolRoads) May 9, 2018
Had Henry admitted to the original offence at the time, Hampshire Constabulary confirmed he would have received a £100 fine and three penalty points, rather than a 12-month stay at Her Majesty’s pleasure.
Henry also received six points for the original offence, was fined £1,600, and was handed a three-month disqualification from driving.