A MECHANIC who was more than three times the drink drive limit sped off when stopped by police, dragging a police officer with him as he reached inside his car.

Robert Newell appeared at Swansea Crown Court charged with dangerous driving, driving with excess alcohol, and assault on an emergency worker.

On June 16 last year, police received a report from a member of the public that a man had got out of a car at the Mynydd Mawr Woodland Centre and was stumbling and carrying alcohol.

Officers arrived at the scene at around 9pm and waited for the defendant to return to his car.

When he did, the officers blocked the exit and approached Newell’s car. One of the officers reported smelling alcohol and asked him three times to switch his engine off. Newell put the car back in to gear, and on the third time replied “No”.

The other officer – PC Jones – reached in through the open window to take the keys out of the ignition, but Newell sped off – dragging the officer a short distance. As the officer lost his balance, the car hit his left elbow and arm, and he also injured his calf.  

  • For the latest crime and court news for West Wales, you can join our Facebook group here.

Newell led officers on a 13-minute chase along narrow country roads, at one point braking hard at a junction, losing control and heading straight in to a hedge. As the officers readied themselves to jump out the car, Newell reversed and drove off once more.

He was recorded on the police dashcam footage driving at speed down the narrow lanes and overtaking other vehicles while speeding.

He was described by officers as having “showed no regard for the other vehicles on the road”.

The chase ended when the defendant drove in to a residential estate and pulled on to a driveway.

He was arrested, and when breathalysed he recorded having 110 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Upon his arrest, he told officers: “I know I was over the limit, I don’t deny that. I know the limit is 35.”

In his interview, he apologised for his behaviour, and said he had “panicked” and “did not intend to hurt the officer”.

PC Jones said in a statement that he “could not comprehend what was going through [Newell’s] mind” when he drove off.

Newell, 66, of Capel Seion Road in Pontyberem, had no previous convictions.

“On the day of this offence his relationship of 21 years came to an end,” said Caitlin Brazel, in mitigation.

“It was his devastation and heartbreak at the end of this relationship which led to him using alcohol as a coping mechanism.

“His actions came out of a state of complete and utter panic.”

Ms Brazel said Newell had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and made full admissions when arrested and in interview. Despite this, she said, it took five months for Newell to be charged, and he only appeared in the Magistrates’ Court for the first time on January 2.

The judge, Recorder B. Clarke, sentenced Newell to one year imprisonment, suspended for a year. He must complete 100 hours of unpaid work, a 90-day alcohol abstinence monitoring requirement, and 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

Newell was banned from driving for two years, and must pass an extended retest to regain his licence.