Drink driver tried to cover up crash by faking car theft, court hears

A drink driver who tried to cover up a collision by staging a car theft has been caught after police found traces of his DNA on an airbag. Mark Bartlett, 53, had been drinking before he crashed his Mercedes, worth £25,000, into a wall in Swadlincote, Derbyshire, in May last year. Bartlett, a construction worker from Mount Pleasant, fled the scene in the early hours of the morning to go home in order to conceal his actions, Derby Crown Court heard. The father-of-two used a screwdriver to create marks in a window frame at his property, telling police a burglar had broken in and stolen his car in the process. He then claimed £24,770 from his insurers for the damage he himself had caused to his vehicle, while a burglary investigation was launched by police. However, detectives realised it was all “a work of fiction” when forensic officers found his DNA on the driver's airbag which had been deployed at the crash. Jason Macadam, the recorder at court, concluded: “It was a chain reaction and it has to be said you could have broken the chain at any time but you did not have the guts to do so.” “You admitted you did what you did because you had been drinking but we will never know if your were over the limit or not,” he added. A burglary investigation was launched by police after Bartlett claimed he had been the target of theft Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Mark Watson, prosecuting, said that a witness was woken by the sound of the car colliding into a fence and a wall. He claimed that police went to Bartlett's address, but he was not there when they arrived. Mr Watson told the court: “They went back at 10am and the defendant was there and he told them he was about to report how he had been burgled and his car had been stolen. “He went to the extent that he showed them tool marks on the window so it looked as though there was a point of entry.” Although answering “no comment” to questions following his arrest, Bartlett later pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and fraud. He was yesterday handed a two year suspended prison sentence and was ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid work. Bartlett was disqualified from driving for a year and was ordered to pay £25,000 to the insurance company in compensation In mitigation, Denny Lau said his client, who earns between £45,000 and £50,000 a year, panicked knowing he might lose his driving licence if he were convicted of causing the crash. Mr Lau said: "He is full of shame for his family and that he deceived the police and the insurance company.”

Drink driver tried to cover up crash by faking car theft, court hears

A drink driver who tried to cover up a collision by staging a car theft has been caught after police found traces of his DNA on an airbag.

Mark Bartlett, 53, had been drinking before he crashed his Mercedes, worth £25,000, into a wall in Swadlincote, Derbyshire, in May last year.

Bartlett, a construction worker from Mount Pleasant, fled the scene in the early hours of the morning to go home in order to conceal his actions, Derby Crown Court heard.

The father-of-two used a screwdriver to create marks in a window frame at his property, telling police a burglar had broken in and stolen his car in the process.

He then claimed £24,770 from his insurers for the damage he himself had caused to his vehicle, while a burglary investigation was launched by police.

However, detectives realised it was all “a work of fiction” when forensic officers found his DNA on the driver's airbag which had been deployed at the crash.

Jason Macadam, the recorder at court, concluded: “It was a chain reaction and it has to be said you could have broken the chain at any time but you did not have the guts to do so.”

“You admitted you did what you did because you had been drinking but we will never know if your were over the limit or not,” he added.

A burglary investigation was launched by police after Bartlett claimed he had been the target of theft Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

Mark Watson, prosecuting, said that a witness was woken by the sound of the car colliding into a fence and a wall.

He claimed that police went to Bartlett's address, but he was not there when they arrived.

Mr Watson told the court: “They went back at 10am and the defendant was there and he told them he was about to report how he had been burgled and his car had been stolen.

“He went to the extent that he showed them tool marks on the window so it looked as though there was a point of entry.”

Although answering “no comment” to questions following his arrest, Bartlett later pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and fraud.

He was yesterday handed a two year suspended prison sentence and was ordered to carry out 150 hours unpaid work.

Bartlett was disqualified from driving for a year and was ordered to pay £25,000 to the insurance company in compensation

In mitigation, Denny Lau said his client, who earns between £45,000 and £50,000 a year, panicked knowing he might lose his driving licence if he were convicted of causing the crash.

Mr Lau said: "He is full of shame for his family and that he deceived the police and the insurance company.”