A man who crashed a car leased by a disabled man then reported to police as stolen has been jailed.
Noel Byrne, 42, was caught out when police arranged for forensic tests to be carried out on air bags inside the BMW which he used during his work as a carer.
Ipswich Crown Court heard today that those tests revealed traces of DNA linking Byrne to the incident.
Rebecca Fairburn, prosecuting, said the crashed car had been found by police in Home Farm Lane, Bury St Edmunds, during the early hours of October 1, 2014. Its air bags had been activated in the impact and the keys were still in the ignition.
The car had been leased to Richard Anderson under the Motability scheme. Byrne, who acted as a carer for Mr Anderson, was the only insured driver.
Ms Fairburn said that the following afternoon Byrne, of The Vinefields, Bury St Edmunds, had reported to police that the vehicle had been stolen.
Byrne had claimed that he had taken Mr Anderson to a pub in the town the previous evening and left his jacket containing the car keys on the side of the bar.
Both he and Mr Anderson had later walked home but it was not till the next day that he found that the keys and the car were missing.
Byrne had maintained he had not been the driver of the car when it crashed until late last year, said Ms Fajrburn.
Mark Roochove, defending, said that Byrne, who suffered from anxiety and depression, had panicked following the crash and instead of reporting it to the police had decided to report it stolen.
Byrne accepted that what he did had been ‘stupid’ said Mr Roochove. Despite having a long standing drug problem, Byrne had been clean since being remanded in custody in December after he failed to answer bail.
Sentencing Byrne, who admitted perverting the course of justice and absconding while on bail, Judge Rupert Overbury said his deception had resulted in a police investigation into the crash and a DNA expert having to be employed.
Judge Overbury, who jailed Byrne for a total of 12 months, told him: “A huge amount of public time and money has been wasted by your deception.”
Byrne was also banned from driving for 12 months.