Ter­ror chase bus hi­jacker jailed

Sunday Express - - Inside Politics - By Mark Black­lock

A MAN ob­sessed by buses hi­jacked a sin­gle-decker and took it on a wreck­ing spree – just like a chase scene in a Hol­ly­wood ac­tion movie.

Drunken Stephen Pope, 34, rammed a po­lice car, smashed into parked ve­hi­cles and ca­reered out of con­trol on the wrong side of a dual car­riage­way, forc­ing driv­ers to swerve to avoid him.

The al­ready-banned driver was stopped only when po­lice man­aged to board the bus and Taser him.

Yes­ter­day Pope, who has other con­vic­tions for tak­ing buses, was start­ing a 98-week prison sen­tence.

A judge at Leeds Crown Court said: “It was like some­thing out of a Hol­ly­wood movie. In­stead of it be­ing a tank or a ridicu­lous fast car, it was a bus and the chase was on.”

Pros­e­cu­tor Si­mon Reev­ell said Pope was pur­sued through Wake- field, West York­shire, at night af­ter tak­ing the £300,000 bus from the town’s de­pot on July 27 last year.

Po­lice moved in when they saw it be­ing driven slowly.

“The bus started to veer all over the road. A po­lice car was knocked off the car­riage­way,” he said.


“The bus then crossed the cen­tral reser­va­tion, con­tin­u­ing on the wrong side of the A650.”

On­com­ing cars took eva­sive ac­tion but Pope hit three parked ve­hi­cles, caus­ing £2,000 dam­age.

Of­fi­cers halted the bus in Out­wood, near Wake­field, and as a po­lice he­li­copter hov­ered over­head, they forced their way in and sub- dued Pope, who was al­most twice the drink-driv­ing limit.

He later told po­lice he had taken a bus from the same ter­mi­nus on July 15, caus­ing £6,500 of dam­age to two other buses.

Recorder Paul Isaacs said Pope had an “ob­ses­sion for driv­ing public ser­vice ve­hi­cles”, adding that it was “as bad a piece of driv­ing” as one could imag­ine.

Pope, of Wake­field, ad­mit­ted nine of­fences, in­clud­ing ag­gra­vated ve­hi­cle tak­ing, driv­ing while dis­qual­i­fied, with ex­cess al­co­hol and with­out in­sur­ance. He was also given a three-year driv­ing ban.

Nicki Forster, de­fend­ing, said a sus­pended sen­tence backed with an al­co­hol treat­ment or­der would be a suit­able pun­ish­ment. But the judge said the public would be “aghast” if Pope was not jailed.

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Stephen Pope at an ear­lier hear­ing and the £300,000 bus dam­aged in his drunken joyride

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