Fugitive jailed after police chase through Exmouth
PUBLISHED: 14:06 29 October 2018 | UPDATED: 16:12 29 October 2018
A fugitive who spent seven months on the run from the police has been jailed after he tried to outrun officers in a car chase in Exmouth.
Ryan Marsh jumped bail after being arrested for a hit and run crash in Sussex and moved to East Devon under an assumed name to start a new life as a gardener.
He was arrested after taking his landlady’s Honda Civic car from her home in Otterton without her consent and being spotted by police in Exmouth.
Marsh drove on the wrong side of the road, through red lights and narrowly missed a line of traffic outside Tesco in Salterton Road before trying to flee home.
He was followed by police who had to use incapacitant spray to arrest him when he tried to break free from officers.
Marsh was on the run from Sussex where he was wanted for a hit and run accident in which he lost control of a Jeep and demolished a lamp post and telephone pole before hitting a house.
He fled the scene but was tracked down by a police dog. He fled to Devon after being given bail because he was in breach of a suspended sentence for drug dealing.
Marsh, aged 22, of Fore Street, Otterton, admitted aggravated vehicle taking, dangerous driving, failing to stop, leaving the scene of an accident, obstructing police, driving without a licence or insurance twice, and possession of cannabis.
He was jailed for a total of 22 months and banned from driving for a year after his release by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court.
He told him the driving offences would have merited an immediate jail sentence even if he had not been in breach of a suspended sentence.
The judge said: “Taking your landlady’s car without her consent was a particularly mean thing to do. When the police tried to stop you, you drove off at speed, through red lights and the wrong way round bollards. You created an obvious risk to the public.”
Mr Nigel Wraith, prosecuting, said Marsh’s first driving offences were committed in August last year when he crashed a Jeep which ended up on its roof after hitting part of a house on the A 22 Lewes Road at East Grinstead.
He ran off, leaving at least one passenger at the scene, but was tracked down by a police dog. DNA from blood in the car showed he was the driver.
He was released under investigation but vanished before being re-interviewed and was only traced after police in Exmouth became suspicious of a Honda Civic, which was registered to a mature woman but being driven by a young man.
They pursued it through Salterton Road but broke off the chase because Marsh was driving so dangerously. They went to the home of the car’s owner and discovered she was his landlady, who knew him as Robert Moore, and did not know he had taken her car.
Marsh was packing a rucksack when police arrived and tried to run away but was detained after Captor spray was deployed.
Miss Rachel Smith, defending, said Marsh had been a cannabis user since he was 12 and had been coerced into working for an Albanian gang who claimed he owed them thousands of pounds.
He fled from his home after the gang threatened to blind him with acid, despite his family paying off £17,500 they claimed they were owed.
He came to Devon to avoid the Albanian gang rather than the police and had started a new life as a gardener. On the day of his arrest he had borrowed his landlady’s car without her permission to do a job.