POLICE found a man with more than 160 convictions hiding below insulation material in the far reaches of an attic, a court has heard.
Christopher Wilton, with an address listed as Lilac Avenue, Coleraine, “missed prison by a whisker” when he appeared at the town’s Magistrates Court in connection with a catalogue of offences.
He was sentenced for dangerous driving at Windy Hall, Coleraine, on February 21, 2015, as well as driving while disqualified, having no insurance and failing to stop for police on the same date.
The court heard how Wilton (35), had been spotted driving at a garage forecourt in Ballymoney.
Police officers followed him and told colleagues to set up a stinger device at Windy Hall in an attempt to stop Wilton.
Despite their flashing lights being on Wilton failed to stop and drove on the wrong side of the road. He accelerated well in excess of the 30mph speed limit and travelled on a footpath and over speed ramps.
He was also sentenced for assaulting police, resisting a constable in the execution of his duty and attempted criminal damage on March 29 last year.
The court heard how police who had gone to Wilton’s partner’s address in Kilrea with a bench warrant and had found him hiding in the roof space.
He became aggressive after being handcuffed and threatened to headbutt a sergeant, kicking out and striking a constable in the groin area.
He later attempted to smash the side window of a police vehicle with the handcuffs.
In his defence, the court heard that Wilton had been given a suspended prison sentence by the Crown Court for offences after the 2015 offences.
With four children, and another one on the way, “fatherhood had brought with it a level of maturity,” the court was told.
His lawyer stressed that Wilton had kicked out to close a door before accidentally striking the police officer.
The barrister said the defendant had wanted to say goodbye to his children.
The court heard the defendant hoped to get a “security” job but District Judge Peter King said with the defendant’s record the SIA (Security Industry Authority) may have a view.
Judge King said the defendant had a “very unhappy history with the criminal justice system” but he was told he is now a “family man”.
The judge imposed an eight month prison sentence, suspended for two years, as well as a five-year driving ban and a £150 fine.
He told Wilton: “You have escaped prison by a whisker; that will not happen again if you are back in front of me. The next time you are in that dock bring a toothbrush.”