A DRIVER fled a crash then put pressure on a friend to lie to the police about the car having being stolen, a court heard.

Stephen Jackson, 39, crashed a car into a BT telephone pole in Herringston Road, Dorchester.

But instead of reporting it, Jackson ran off and got his friend, Amy Beard, to contact the police and tell them the car had been stolen the night before following a burglary at her home.

Both later gave untrue statements to officers.

Jackson, aged 39, of Marmion Road, Liverpool, and Beard, aged 28, of Dorchester Road, Weymouth were sentenced at Bournemouth Crown Court after admitting perverting the course of justice.

Jackson also admitted failing to stop after an accident and failing to report the accident.

The judge in the case accepted Beard, a “vulnerable” single mother had been pressured to act by Jackson.

Prosecutor Tom Wright told the court how Jackson had crashed his father’s BMW at about 8am on Saturday, July 13 last year. He then left his car on foot and met with Beard.

Mr Wright said police received a call from Beard about 9.30am that day. She told them the car had been stolen while they were sleeping. This was subsequently proven untrue as Beard was captured on CCTV driving into the centre of Dorchester to pick up Jackson at about 9am.

Jackson claimed he swerved to avoid a cat in the road, leading to the crash. His counsel, Jamie Porter, said he did not need to flee the scene because he was insured and should have just called the relevant authorities.

Instead, the prosecutor said Jackson pressured Beard, described by her counsel Alejandra Llorente Tascon as a “vulnerable” single mother of two suffering from depression and PTSD, to pervert the course of justice on his behalf by lying to police.

Judge Stephen Climie told Beard: “You behaved both irresponsibly and stupidly. I accept that you only came to behave that way because of his insistence that you helped him.

“Sending you to prison, I’m satisfied would not be in the public interest. You have had an experience in this court and it has been a lesson learned. I’m satisfied that there will be no reoffending.”

Beard was handed a two year conditional discharge.

The judge said the court was “deeply suspicious” of the fact that Jackson had fled the scene of the crash, due to his previous conviction for drink driving.

“There was no need for this charade,” Judge Climie, told the defendant. “You put pressure on a friend, a total innocent in all other respects, to become involved in criminal behaviour.”

Instead of sending Jackson to prison, the judge said he wanted Jackson to keep his new job in the hope that it would keep him out of trouble.

He was given a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with a requirement to undertake a Thinking Skills programme for 42 days, and also 150 hours of unpaid community work. Jackson will be electronically tagged and will have to abide by a curfew for four months which keeps him at his home address between 9pm and 7am. Jackson was also given nine penalty points on his driving licence.