Man jailed after threat to stab

PUBLISHED: 12:30 20 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:31 10 June 2010

A joy riding motoring menace, who stole his girlfriend s car and caused a pile-up in the centre of Honiton in the middle of the night then threatened to stab anyone who said he was driving has been jailed for 45 months. Exeter Crown Court heard 27-yea

A joy riding motoring menace, who stole his girlfriend's car and caused a pile-up in the centre of Honiton in the middle of the night - then threatened to stab anyone who said he was driving - has been jailed for 45 months.Exeter Crown Court heard 27-year-old Martin Handley, who had only been released from prison a week before, was at a party at his girlfriend's home in Honiton and when she fell asleep he took the keys to her high powered Toyota Celica sports saloon.Then, with a friend in the passenger seat, he revved up the engine and started to show off. But disaster struck when he failed to negotiate the turn at the end of New Street and smashed into a vehicle towing a mobile burger van. That car in turned rammed a parked Volkswagen Golf, writing off both vehicles. It also extensively damaged the Celica.Handley ran off into the night but had been recognised by people who knew him.Prosecutor Tom Bradnock said several hours after the collision Handley went to the home of someone he thought had seen him behind the wheel and threatened him saying: "I will stab anyone who says I was driving that car."The court heard Handley had previous convictions for driving whilst disqualified, robbery, possessing a firearm, assaults and burglary. Mitigating, Nicholas Gerisimides said drug abuse had been the cause of Handley's offending and at the time he was "an angry young man". He said it was merciful that no one was seriously injured in the crash.In addition to the prison sentence Handley was banned from driving for two years.Passing sentence Judge Paul Darlow told Handley: "The motoring matters led to substantial damage to three vehicles. As far as the witness intimidation is concerned, there has to be an element of deterrent to others.Handley, of Castle Break Holiday Park, Woodbury, had pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking and witness intimidation. He also admitted driving without insurance or a licence and failing to stop after an accident.

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