A driver live streamed video of himself racing through residential streets at speeds well in excess of 100mph, a court has heard.
Justin Dean Jones posted a total of four clips on Facebook in what a judge said was a sign of his “warped pride” in what he was doing.
The alarm was raised by somebody in Canada who watched the videos and was so concerned at their contents that they contacted police in Wales.
Sending Jones to prison for two years the judge described his actions on the roads as “selfish stupidity of the highest order”.
Swansea Crown Court heard Jones filmed and posted clips of himself driving on three separate dates in July this year in a Vauxhall Astra car, and a BMW X5.
David Singh, prosecuting, said two of the clips showed the defendant driving around Llanelli at speeds touching 110mph.
In the footage Jones can be heard laughing and boasting as he drives on the wrong side of the road, ignores solid white lines, races another car through a pedestrian crossing, and drives through residential streets at breakneck speeds. For much of the time he is driving with one had while holding his mobile phone in the other.
In one of the clips, 30-year-old Jones drives along the main A484 Llanelli to Swansea road at more than 120mph in his Astra. The prosecutor said the defendant was using the busy stretch of road as a “racetrack”, going up and down its length and taking roundabouts at speed.
The court heard Jones uploaded the clips to Facebook where they were seen by a person in Canada who alerted Welsh police.
Jones was arrested on July 22 and in interview admitted his driving had been dangerous and childish. He told officers he was driving the BMW in the last of the clips after crashing and badly damaging his Astra.
Jones, of Panteg, Felinfoel, Llanelli, admitted three counts of dangerous driving. He has 28 previous convictions for 63 offences including dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, drug-driving, and possession of Class B drugs.
At the time of the current offending he was subject to a suspended prison sentence for sending malicious communications. This involved him sending texts to a former partner in which he threatened to kill her mother, brother, and sister, and to burn her house down.
Ashanti-Jade Walton, for Jones, said the defendant had been in a “very dark place” in the summer of 2020 following the breakdown of a relationship and the loss of his children – an “emotionally unstable” situation which had exacerbated his problem with drink and drugs.
The barrister invited the court to take the exceptional step of not imposing an immediate custodial sentence, noting a response to supervision report on Jones said he was at last engaging with probation and was “thriving” and had “moved on” from the person he was.
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Judge Huw Rees described Jones’ driving as “selfish stupidity of the highest order”. He said the defendant had risked the lives of other road users while “showing off” and then posted the footage on Facebook out of a sense of “warped pride” in what he was doing.
The judge said no sentence other than immediate custody would be appropriate.
Giving the defendant one-third discounts for his guilty pleas the judge sentenced him a total of 24 months in prison for the dangerous driving charges and activated one month of the suspended sentence to run consecutively making a total of 25 months. The defendant will serve up to half that period in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community.
Jones was disqualified from driving for four years with the ban extended by 13 months to cover the length of time he will be behind bars.
Speaking after the hearing sergeant Ian Price from Go Safe – the all-Wales road safety organisation which brings together police, local councils, and the Welsh Government – welcomed the sentence.
He said: “The sentence of just over two years in prison and a five year ban from driving shows the high risk he poses to other road users.
“It is a clear message that this type of behaviour is unacceptable and ensures the removal of a dangerous driver from society and we hope that it gives him enough time to reflect on his actions in prison.”