A DRIVER who deliberately tried to mow down a Weymouth policewoman while behind the wheel of a stolen bin lorry has been jailed for 20 months.
Despite having to jump over a crash barrier, to avoid being struck by the 26-tonne truck, shocked traffic officer PC Alison Gale continued her attempts to stop Aaron Millar.
Bournemouth Crown Court heard how Millar, 22, was pursued by eight police cars during the one-and-a-half hour chase.
Stinger traps were deployed five times before he swerved and crashed into a hedge in the village of Portesham near Weymouth.
Judge Peter Johnson praised the “courageous officer” adding that she had “shown commendable resolve” during the early-morning, 50-mile chase across Dorset on March 5 this year.
Giving evidence at Millar’s trial, PC Gale told jurors how she had been waiting to deploy a stinger trap when she saw the stolen dustcart, taken from a recycling centre at Arena Way, Wimborne, hurtling towards her.
The trial was halted after Millar admitted assault, with intent to resist arrest, at the end of the prosecution case. He had been charged with attempting to cause grievous bodily harm but Judge Johnson instructed jurors to return a not guilty verdict.
Millar also admitted dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking, taking a vehicle without consent, criminal damage and two burglaries.
His passenger Paul Summers, 23, pleaded guilty to two burglaries, aggravated vehicle taking, taking without consent and criminal damage.
Defending both, Robert Griffiths said his clients had been driving various vehicles around the recycling centre yard before a security guard arrived.
He added: “They panicked; their intention was to get away which was foolish because the bin lorry didn’t travel very fast. It was easy for the guard to follow them, giving a running commentary to the police.
“Stingers only cover half the road so Millar simply drove round them. He was trying to get round one when he discovered he was heading straight towards PC Gale; it must have been very scary; she was not in any physical danger.”
Summers, from Abertillery, Gwent, was jailed for 13 months and both men’s licences were endorsed. Millar, from Station Road, Parkstone, was banned from driving for three years and Summers for a year.
Speaking after the case, Dorset Police Federation Chairman Clive Chamberlain, above, said: “It’s a shame that the judge’s praise for the officer does not match the sentence he imposed.
“Millar will be out of prison in 10 months’ time which isn’t much of a deterrent. Perhaps some politicians should take note of the judge’s comments.”