Police officer 'mesmerised' by super car

PUBLISHED: 12:41 18 February 2010 | UPDATED: 00:57 16 June 2010

A ZONDA F Raodster.

A ZONDA F Raodster.

Copyright Archant Ltd

A CHAIN store owner, caught undertaking an unmarked police car at excess speed in his million pound super car , is to keep his driving licence.

A CHAIN store owner, caught undertaking an unmarked police car at excess speed in his million pound 'super car', is to keep his driving licence.

Rainbow Stores owner Ralph Jeremy White, 53, of Whimple, appeared at Central Devon Magistrates' Court and pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention on September 20 of last year.

But he disputed Pc Christopher Wright's account that he was driving over 100mph in his Zonda F Roadster - of which there are only 13 such soft tops worldwide.

He admitted he had been driving over the legal speed limit on the A30 towards Honiton, near Exeter Airport. But magistrates agreed there was no proof he was driving above 100mph.

The married father-of-two told the court the BMW Estate, which Pc Wright had been driving, had been in the fast lane moving at around 50mph.

White, who had been travelling with his nine-year-old son, said: "I got the feeling they were being awkward and not moving in."

He explained, he drove on the inside and accelerated to pass by - and shortly afterwards the officer put on his lights and pulled him over.

White said he paid £350,000 for the Zonda. But he had recently sent it to Italy to be refurbished, tripling its value - and leaving it grossly underinsured.

White, from London Road, said: "I had my nine-year-old son in the car. It's a long time before he will have a driving licence but, when he does, I want to show a good example. His safety is paramount and the car is too precious to damage."

The court heard the car could travel at 250mph and go from 0 to 60mph in 3.5 seconds.

Pc Wright, a police motor officer for 11 years, said his speedometer was at 90 to 95mph when White undertook him.

In mitigation, Jeremy Asher suggested the officer had been mesmerised by the car.

He said: "It's an automatic perception when you look at that car that it will go fast. It sounds fast and not like anything else on the road."

He said White, who he described as a successful businessman and pillar of the community, was not the kind of man to do something to put his life, his son's life, or the car at risk.

Chairman of the bench Carol Maden said: "You didn't cause an accident and there were no injuries. However, the potential is there, when driving at great speeds."

White was ordered to pay £650 and had his driving licence endorsed with six penalty points.

Ms Maden added: "We considered disqualification but we feel the points on your licence will be a constant reminder that you will have to drive very carefully and within the law.

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