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Drunk son who stole dad's car and nearly died in crash escapes prison

Published date: 05 August 2014 |
Published by: Court reporter
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Zak Willsmer, of The Meads, Weston Rhyn, was sentenced to 17 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months 

A MAN who stole his dad’s car and risked his own and his passenger’s lives when he crashed into a field has been spared immediate custody.

Zak John Willsmer, of The Meads in Weston Rhyn, was awaiting sentence for aggravated assault and expected custody when he took his father’s Citroen Xsara from the house he formerly shared with the family in Laburnum Drive, Oswestry on February 7.

According to Ceri Lewis, defending, he “took it upon himself to get extremely intoxicated”.

She also revealed that when police found him, the officer believed he was dead because he was “hanging out of the driver’s window and wasn’t breathing”.

The 21-year-old was spotted driving through St Martins by police after he pulled out of a car park in front of them.

When they turned on their blue lights he indicated to pull over but then accelerated away and lost the persuing police car.

Mike Phillips, prosecuting, said: “Police later saw car lights in a field on Overton Road and realised he had crashed into the field.

“There was serious frontal damage to the vehicle and both the driver and the passenger had injuries.”

Willsmer, who was already banned from driving and was not insured, was taken to Birmingham Hospital where he was found to have fractured his spine and the car was written off.

A blood test also revealed he was over the legal drink-drive limit.

Miss Lewis asked Shrewsbury magistrates to take Willsmer’s early guilty plea and “extreme remorse” into consideration when sentencing.

Willsmer, who had “limited recollection” of what happened, had to wear a back brace for a number of months as a result of the crash which had literally had a “sobering effect” on him.

He has not had a drink since and has moved out of Oswestry where he felt there were bad influences.

Miss Lewis said: “This could have be an awful lot worse.

“He is thoroughly ashamed of himself for the trouble he’s caused himself, the passenger and his family and was devastated when he heard how serious the matter was.”

She said Willsmer was now staying out of trouble and was enjoying his time at Willowdene, a working farm which helps rehabilitate offenders, which he hoped would ultimately help him find “meaningful employment”.

“He has assured me and his mother that he won’t be coming back to court,” added Miss Lewis.

Willsmer was sentenced to 17 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months and ordered to take part in six sessions of an alcohol treatment programme and 150 hours of unpaid work.

He was also banned from driving for 36 months and told to pay £85 court costs and an £80 victim surcharge.

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