A British Army captain has been allowed to keep his licence after being caught driving his Aston Martin DB9 at speeds of up to 130mph on the A12 at Dedham.
James Golding, a captain in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), was clocked travelling at between 100mph and 130mph along a stretch of the main road at Dedham, on the border of Essex and Suffolk, on July 9 last summer.
The 26-year-old Sandhurst graduate had been based at Wattisham Airfield, near Stowmarket, awaiting deployment overseas following his return from service in Paderborn, Germany.
Golding admitted driving a motor vehicle in excess of 70mph on a dual carriageway at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court, in Ipswich, on Wednesday.
Magistrates heard how Golding, from Upminster, east London, had previously been driving on sections of the German autobahn with no general speed limit.
They were presented a statement of good character by Golding’s commanding officer and told he would be likely to face disciplinary action if banned from driving.
At worst, they heard, he could face delayed promotion for a significant period of time, or be dismissed from the army altogether.
The court heard how Golding was due to be deployed to the Falkland Islands for at least six months in early April and would require his full UK driving licence.
Magistrates were told his duties could be compromised, and his career put at risk, and were asked to consider his exceptional circumstances when deciding on a punishment.
Golding’s charge read: “The speed recorded, by means of a follow check in an unmarked police vehicle, with a calibrated speedometer, varied between 100 and 130mph for a distance of 0.9 miles.”
Before sentencing him, magistrates said: “It is imperative that we articulate that driving at 100-130mph on any road, albeit in a car capable of reaching those speeds, is unacceptable.
“The fact that it’s a smart car is no excuse.
“It’s not the behaviour expected of any member of the public, let alone a serving British Army officer.”
He was given six penalty points on his licence and ordered to pay a £781 fine, £85 in prosecution costs and a £78 victim surcharge.
Suffolk Police and Crime Commisioner Tim Passmore said after learning of the case: “I cannot understand how anyone could ever think there is an excuse for this reckless and irresponsible attitude.
“It seems Mr Golding was extremely fortunate he didn’t receive a lengthy driving ban.
“The public message must continue to be made – excess speeding is one of the fatal four and is a major cause of death and serious injuries on Suffolk’s roads and speed limits are there for a purpose.”
The fatal four, considered the four biggest dangers while driving, includes speeding, using a mobile phone at the wheel, not wearing a seatbelt, and driving while under the influence of drink or drugs.