An army officer has narrowly escaped a driving ban after police captured him driving at up to 130mph on the A12 in Essex. Captain James Golding, 26, was caught by police on the stretch of dual carriageway in his Aston Martin DB9 supercar.
Magistrates decided to spare him a driving ban, however, after being told that he needed his license for a six-month tour of duty in the Falkland Islands.
Ipswich magistrates were told that Golding had previously driven his Aston Martin on autobahns, which have no speed limit in places, while he was based in Paderborn, Germany. His car, a DB9 which would have retailed for over £100,000 when new, is fitted with a 5.9-litre V12 and capable of 183mph at full chat.
They heard that, for Golding, loss of licence would likely lead to disciplinary action, a delay in promotion and possible dismissal from the army. They were also told that his duties in the Falklands would be compromised if he did not have a full UK licence.
Golding's commanding officer offered a statement of good character to the court. Magistrates agreed that the circumstances were exceptional, and ordered Golding to pay £781 and accept six penalty points on his license.
The presiding magistrate said: "It is imperative that we articulate that driving at 100-130mph on any road, albeit in a car capable of reaching those speeds, is unacceptable.
"The fact that it's a smart car is no excuse. It's not the behaviour expected of any member of the public, let alone a serving British Army officer."
Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore spoke after the case, saying: "I am shocked to hear that anyone should drive at this enormous speed on the A12.
"I cannot understand how anyone could ever think there is an excuse for this reckless and irresponsible attitude. It seems Mr Golding was extremely fortunate he didn't receive a lengthy driving ban."