A man who once taunted police with photo of himself standing next to a cop van while he was on the run was found hiding in an attic after a high-speed chase in a stolen van.
Matthew Maynard raced through Swansea in the BT van before jumping into an accomplice’s getaway car in an attempt to escape. He then took to his heels ran through gardens and into a house – but his every move was being observed by a police helicopter.
Career criminal Maynard hit the headlines in 2009 when he was being sought by police in Swansea in connection with a burglary – he objected to the mug shot being used, so sent a new one to the South Wales Evening Post showing him posing next to a cop van. But after the picture appeared on the front page of the paper the vain criminal was arrested when he was spotted in a barber’s shop.
Megan Jones, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that in January this year a Ford Transit van containing a large amount of valuable electrical equipment was stolen from the BT compound on Heol y Gors in the Townhill area of Swansea. Then on the evening of February 25 the van – now showing cloned plates – was located by police in Swansea, and pulled over. When challenged about the vehicle the driver, 36-year-old Maynard, sped off.
The court heard a chase ensued, with the BT Openreach van racing at excessive speeds, driving on the wrong side of the road, going through red traffic lights, and overtaking other vehicles “erratically”. At the junction of Carmarthen Road and Pentregethin Road in Fforestfach police deployed a “stinger” device which successfully punctured all four of the van’s tyres, but Maynard continued to drive on. By now the National Police Air Service had been called in, and a police helicopter was tracking the van.
The court heard Maynard was seen from the watching chopper to stop the Transit next to a waiting Vauxhall Corsa and to jump into the passenger seat of the car. The Corsa raced off and was itself targeted by a second stinger device but continued to speed through Ravenhill and Penlan before stopping. The court heard Mayard alighted and ran through a number of gardens before being seen going into a house in Idwal Place. With the chopper keeping watch on the property officers were directed to the address and gained entry. The defendant was found hiding in the attic under a layer of insulation. He was arrested, and subsequently gave a no comment interview.
Matthew William John Maynard, formerly of Idwal Place in Penlan, Swansea, but now of no fixed abode, had previously pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence, and driving without insurance when he appeared in the dock for sentencing. He has 29 previous convictions for 82 offences including aggravated vehicle taking, handling stolen goods, and seven for driving while disqualified. In 2017 he was jailed along with another man for stealing surfers’ cars in Porthcawl.
Andrew Evans, for Maynard, said it was accepted the defendant had an unenviable record of offending, but he said his client had been candid in his pre-sentence report interview and he invited the court to find there was a prospect of rehabilitation in his case. He said in recent months the defendant had started a new a relationship with a “responsible hard-working woman” who was “extremely unhappy to say the least with his lifestyle”, including his use of cocaine.
Judge Paul Thomas QC told Maynard he had put other road users at risk on the evening in question when he had driven dangerously and over a prolonged period while, by his own admission, under the influence of substances. The judge said as the sentence that was due was one of less than two years in length he was obliged to consider whether it could be suspended, but given the seriousness of the incident, the defendant’s antecedent history, and what he said in his view was the lack of any realistic prospect of rehabilitation, it would not be appropriate to do so.
With a one-third discount for his guilty pleas Maynard was sentenced to six months in prison for the dangerous driving, while no separate penalties were imposed for the licence and insurance matters. The defendant will serve up to half the six months in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community. He was banned from driving for two years and three months, and must pass an extended test before he can get his licence back.
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