A NEWENT man wanted for stalking his former partner and breaching a restraining order led police on a 30-minute car chase before crashing into an embankment, a court heard last Friday (April 1).
Prosecutor Giles Nelson told Gloucester Crown Court that Matthew Goodchild, 34, of Lightfoot, Newent had been in an on/off relationship with a woman for about five years and when it ended a number of restraining orders were imposed preventing him from contacting her – but he ignored them.
He said that within a month of the orders being issued Goodchild started contacting the woman, beginning on November 4, 2021 when she was out walking in the town.
A short time later, Goodchild drove past her on four occasions using foul language against her.
On December 15 he phoned the victim continually through the night.
Mr Nelson added: “Between December 16, 2021 and January 7, 2022 Goodchild made 172 calls and text messages.
“As a result of the continued breaches of the restraining order, the police were out looking for Goodchild and spotted him just after midnight on January 31, 2022 in his BMW on the B4215 heading towards Dymock.
“The officers were in a marked vehicle and indicated to him they wanted him to stop. But Goodchild drove off at speed and the police lost sight of him.
“Goodchild’s BMW was spotted again at 2.25am when he pulled out onto the Tewkesbury Road at Strawberry Hill, heading towards Newent.
“The pursuit was taken up by a second police vehicle from the armed response unit which followed Goodchild along single carriageway roads at high speed before heading along Hooks Lane and returning to other unclassified roads, often reaching speeds up to 90mph, on damp greasy surfaces.
“The police saw Goodchild turn into the B4215 without making any attempt to slow down and luckily there was no other traffic on the road at the time.
“He then continued towards Dymock and at 2.39am he crashed into an embankment, just missing a telegraph pole.”
Goodchild attempted to make his getaway on foot, but was tasered by an officer and arrested at 2.44am.
He refused to take a roadside breath test but admitted he had taken ‘loads of both’.
The court was told that Goodchild was taken to hospital and again refused to provide a specimen.
The prosecutor stated it was obvious that Goodchild had an extensive knowledge of the local rural road network for him to have been able to drive as he did.
The judge, Recorder Neil Millard observed: “This was an example of poor driving over a long period of time.”
The victim, in a statement, said she is now suffering from anxiety because of what Goodchild put her through. She was worried about his continual threats towards her and she no longer felt safe in her own home, she stated.
Eugene Hickey, defending, said: “Goodchild has mental health issues due to his own domestic matters.
“He has been remanded in custody and in prison he has received one-to-one contact with medical profesionals who have provisionally diagnosed him as suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.
“This was from an accident while working at fairground. He was loading a dodgem onto a lorry when it fell off and landed on his leg, causing a compound fracture.
“It was at this point his personality is said to have changed.
“He turned to drugs to help his pain relief. But after a while the prescribed pain-killing medication wasn’t working he turned to Class A drugs.
“He also has shown that he has effectively struggled to come to terms with the breakdown of his relationship.”
Goodchild admitting breaching a restraining order on numerous occasions after it was imposed on October 11, 2021.
He also pleaded guilty to stalking his victim on November 4, 2021 and contacting her by phone and messaging her 172 times between December 15/16, 2021 in which the conversations were sexual and abusive.
Goodchild also admitted dangerous driving on January 31, 2022 and failing to provide a specimen on the same date.
Recorder Millard told Goodchild: “This was a persistent breach of a restraining order.
“This wasn’t just one breach, it was repeated breaches of the court order had that had only been activated a few weeks before.
“You caused your victim a lot of stress and made her fearful.
“This was shocking driving and its only by luck that nobody was killed. You need to leave this woman alone.”
The judge sentenced Goodchild to a prison term of 34 months and banned him from driving for three years.
The disqualification will begin on his release from prison.
He was also ordered to pass an extended driving re-test before he can get a licence.
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