A FORMER soldier has been jailed for four months for lying to the police that his car had been stolen after he crashed into a parked vehicle following a New Year’s Eve party.
Bradley Smith, who saw front line action in Iraq when he served with The Yorkshire Regiment, smashed the driver’s door window on his Peugeot and damaged the ignition barrel after the collision in Ruffield Side, Wyke.
Smith, 35, of Brackendale Court, Thackley, Bradford, pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice, careless driving, failing to stop after an accident and failing to report it, in the early hours of January 1.
Prosecutor Nick Askins told Bradford Crown Court yesterday that both the Peugeot and the Vauxhall Meriva that Smith hit were badly damaged.
The police became suspicious because Smith’s car was not a vehicle that could be ‘hot wired’ by a thief, the court was told.
Someone at the crash scene then provided film footage of Smith sitting in his car after the crash with the driver’s side window still intact.
Peter Hampton, Smith’s barrister, said his client was a hard working driver and the father of three children.
At the time of the collision, he was suffering from acute post traumatic stress disorder after coming under rocket and mortar attack while serving in Iraq in 2007 and 2010 during his seven years in the British Army.
Smith also had to deal with improvised explosive devices during his role keeping civilians in the war torn country secure.
Mr Hampden said Smith was heartbroken when his marriage ended and he was a good father to his children.
He had tackled issues surrounding alcohol and led a constructive and crime free life for the past 15 years.
The court heard that Smith had one previous conviction, when he was 20, for driving above the prescribed limit.
Judge Neil Davey QC said that attempting to pervert the course of public justice struck at the heart of the criminal justice system, potentially sending the police on a ‘wild goose chase’ after the crash.
Only the film footage from the scene had stopped Smith ‘brazening it out.’
Judge Davey conceded that Smith was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder but pointed out that his psychiatric report said he knew what he was doing when he tried to fool the police.