153mph driver breaks record and goes straight to jail

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A MOTORIST with three convictions for speeding and one for reckless driving was jailed yesterday after police caught him speeding for the fourth time - at a British record of 153mph.

Achille Mazzotta, 30, an unemployed builder who insisted he was doing only 125mph, was sentenced to six months after the recorder at Bristol Crown Court, John Royce QC, said his speed was matched only by his arrogance.

The court was told that Mazzotta was arrested in his black 3.5 litre BMW M535i last November after two motorists on the M4 in Wiltshire reported having to take evasive action because of the way he was driving. A police Vauxhall Senator travelling at its top speed of 120mph measured his speed at 153mph. The previous fastest offender, also in a BMW, was doing 152mph.

Mazzotta's barrister, Oba Nsugbe, who described his client's driving record as 'appalling', said Mazzotta had been dared by a passenger to put his foot down and had foolishly accepted the challenge.

'He reacted completely stupidly by seeking to prove himself in that way,' Mr Nsugbe said. 'He says his actions were pathetic, stupid and childish.'

James Patrick, for the prosecution, said Mazzotta had been fined pounds 150 for speeding at Droitwich in the West Midlands three days before the offence for which he was jailed yesterday. In 1992, he was fined pounds 80 in Maidenhead for speeding on the M4; magistrates fined him pounds 180 in April last year for a similar offence in Cheshire; and in December last year in Swindon he was fined pounds 200 and banned for six months for reckless driving.

Yesterday's hearing was for sentencing. Mazzotta's original trial, on a charge of dangerous driving, accepted evidence that the BMW could not have been travelling at more than 140mph.

Sentencing Mazzotta, of Park South, Swindon, Mr Royce said: 'You have a cynical disregard for the law and the safety of others. A custodial sentence is the only suitable sentence in this case.'

(Photograph omitted)