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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Deutsch jailed for ten months for dangerous driving and escaping custody

Charlie Deutsch after his arrest in Cheltenham
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Jockey Charlie Deutsch has been jailed for ten months after pleading guilty to dangerous driving while over the drink drive limit and escaping from police custody in March.

Gloucester Crown Court heard how the 21-year-old panicked and drove off at high speed when police stopped him for a breath test on his way home from a night out in Cheltenham.

Deutsch, who had other jockeys in the car, reached speeds of up to 114mph in his Audi after escaping from police custody at the roadside. 

His breath test reading was 49mcgs in 100mls of breath – the legal limit is 35mcgs. He was also banned from driving for 17 months.

'This will ruin me'

Prosecutor Janine Wood said it was at 1.30am on March 30 that police sergeant Marcus Forbes-George spotted Deutsch driving too fast in Cheltenham. He intended only to warn the driver about his speed but when he pulled alongside him it became apparent the jockey was intoxicated.

Charlie Deutsch stats and big-race wins

Wood said Deutsch took six attempts to blow into the roadside breathalyser before giving a reading. Forbes-George then arrested Deutsch, who said: "Please don't, this will ruin me. I'm a jockey. I have to drive 50,000 miles a year."

Wood described Deutsch as becoming "increasingly agitated" and said he then ran back to his vehicle. He started the car as Forbes-George broke the driver's window with his baton in a bid to remove the ignition key. He failed and Deutsch drove off with three passengers in his vehicle.

“The other occupants were shouting at him to stop,” Wood said.

Police chase

As Deutsch drove away he trapped the officer's arm in the window causing him pain. The struggle also caused the officer to drop his radio, which fell into the footwell of Deutsch's car.

Traffic officers homed in on the signal from the radio and police saw the Audi A4 pass them with no headlights in Bishop's Cleeve.

Deutsch then led police on a 4.81-mile chase and did not stop despite sirens and blue lights. The chase ended after a stinger was deployed, but not before the jockey reached speeds of 100mph in 50mph zones, drove on the wrong side of the carriageway and went the wrong way round a roundabout.

'He has done something remarkably stupid'

Deutsch, who had references from top trainers Venetia Williams and Nigel Twiston-Davies, was described as a "professional jockey of exceptionally good character" by his lawyer Charles Royle, who urged the court not to pass an immediate jail sentence because it could ruin the rider's career.

Royle said: "He is a very sensible and promising young man who has done something remarkably stupid. He made it immeasurably worse by his actions. He is remarkably well liked. He has a good reputation and following in the industry."

He concluded: "This was an opportunistic escape born out of panic. He has brought great shame on himself and his family."

Panic and remorse

Deutsch, who the court was told had been attending the retirement party of a fellow jockey, was said to be remorseful and regretted his actions.

Probation officer Joanne Hall said: "It is very clear he is remorseful. He apologises and regrets his actions.

"He was out with other jockeys in the 21 Club in Cheltenham. He was the designated driver, but had a couple of drinks of Prosecco and cider."

The court heard that Deutsch had announced they would get a taxi back, but instead drove as he "didn't realise he was drunk".

He also said he was unaware he was speeding, and he panicked when the police stopped him.

"His only thought was his job," Hall said. "His job is his dream, which he absolutely loves. He decided to get out of the situation."

Custodial sentence

The judge, James Watson QC, told Deutsch: "You set off on a course that amounted to a violent escape."

The judge said Deutsch "shut his ears and mind" to the pleas from his passengers to stop.

He added: "Your conduct was deliberate. You were stopped and brought back into custody only because a stinger was deployed.

"Your control of the car seems tenuous in the sense of safety and was highly dangerous to anyone else on the road.

"What you have brought on yourself will have a lasting impact, and I accept to a degree that what you did was born out of panic. But your conduct was outrageous.

"Those who resist arrest, involving violent struggles and cause injury to police officers, must not expect a custodial sentence to be suspended.

"It is with a heavy heart and reluctance, but it is too serious to merit suspending the sentence."

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I accept to a degree that what you did was born out of panic but your conduct was outrageous

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Charlie Deutsch
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