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Driver high on cannabis drove at 117mph with child, 1, sat on passenger’s lap

A van driver who led police on a 117mph chase while high howled and grabbed hold of his girlfriend has he was jailed.

Mark Hilden, 24, was found to be more than three times over the limit for cannabis when he took police on a dangerous chase in heavy rain.

The car crashed into a police car and a Peugeot 207 when he tried to leave the motorway and police were shocked to discover his girlfriend had been holding a one-year-old child on her lap.

Mark Hilden sobbed in court as he was jailed – he has nine driving convictions (Picture: Hampshire Police)

Describing the aftermath of the crash prosecutor Andrew Houston said: ‘Out of the passenger side of the car comes Miss Matthews, [the child] in her arms. She appeared to be limping.

‘Mr Hilden was lying on the floor. He was hard screaming in pain, accusing miss Matthews of being the driver.

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‘There was takeaway food scattered across the inside of the Citroen.’

Hilden was jailed for two years and six months after a court heard that the driver of the other car injured his neck and the police driver injured his back.

A judge condemned Hilden – who has never passed a driving test and initially accused his partner of being the driver – for ‘putting yourself before the safety of the child’.

Police followed him for five miles on the M27 near Southampton, Hampshire, after smoking what he described as ‘a bit of weed’.

Mark Hilden was found to be three times over the legal limit for driving with cannabis (Picture: Solent)
Driving conditions were hampered by rain during the police chase which reached speeds of 117mph (Picture: Solent)

Hilden has eight previous driving convictions for driving while disqualified and was serving a suspended prison sentence.

He admitted child neglect, driving over the prescribed limit of drugs, failing to stop for police, dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified and driving without insurance.

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He added the driver of the Peugeot had his 12-year-old daughter in the back of the car.

Gemma White, mitigating, said Mr Hilden has learnt his lesson since the incident, having spent time in prison for the suspended sentence he breached during the incident.

Sentencing Hilden to two years and six months in prison, Judge Nicholas Rowland said: ‘You drove at speeds of over 100mph on a winter evening when conditions were not good.

‘A one-year-old child was sitting unrestrained in the front of the vehicle exposing the child to extremely serious injury or worse.

‘You tried to outrun the police putting yourself before the safety of [the child]. You have never passed a driving test, you have a terrible record for driving offences.

‘These were extremely serious offences for the reasons I have laid out, and that is why I will be imposing an immediate custodial sentence. ‘

PC Dave Mitchell from Hampshire Police Serious Collision Unit said: ‘The fact that everyone involved walked away without serious injury or worse, is really quite miraculous but he took a massive risk and the sentence reflects that.’

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