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Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

‘Where’s Wally’ jockey who taunted police is sentenced for drug offences

McMenamin taunts police dressed in Where's Wally guise
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Former jockey John Joseph McMenamin, who shot to notoriety at the start of the year when he dressed up as Where's Wally when on the run from the police, has been sentenced for drug offences.

McMenamin, 31, had three rides for Jedd O'Keeffe over hurdles in 2006 and had also been a work-rider at various yards in Middleham and Newmarket, including O'Keeffe and Karl Burke.

But in January his antics when dressed as Where's Wally went viral as he hid from police having missed bail for motoring offences. A police helicopter and sniffer dogs were sent to the Leyburn area by North Yorkshire Police in a bid to find McMenamin, who live streamed his efforts to evade capture, and declared himself the 'Hide and Seek champion'.

McMenamin eventually handed himself in to police, still dressed as Where's Wally, and filmed his arrival at Harrogate Police Station singing along to Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues and Lionel Ritchie’s Hello, which includes the lyric “is it me you’re looking for?"

Although fined and sentenced for the motoring offences, McMenamin went on the run again – although not dressed this time as Where's Wally – when on bail for drug offences.

He, and trainee jockey Zachary Sparrow, 21, were arrested after police raided their house in Leyburn and found amounts of cocaine and cannabis, a set of scales and £2,738 in cash. 

Sparrow, who has been working for two yards in Wales and recently applied for his jockeys' licence, also skipped bail with McMenamin.

The pair were sentenced at Teeside Crown Court and each were given 18 month jail sentences, suspended for two years, as they pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine and cannabis with intent to supply. McMenamin was also ordered to 125 hours of unpaid work.

Judge Stephen Ashurst said he did not want to wreck their prospects but warned they would serve prison sentences if they offended again.

They pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine and cannabis with intent to supply
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