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Dangerous driver knocked cyclist off bike, hit police car and drove at 110mph

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A father-of-six who drove dangerously in the grip of a mental health crisis has been jailed.

Martin McDonagh, a paranoid schizophrenic, was not effectively medicated when he drove a BMW Mini in March, Bristol Crown Court heard.

After knocking a cyclist off his bike, McDonagh collided with a police car and was estimated to have accelerated up to 110 mph before crashing.

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He was tested to be approaching two times over the alcohol limit for driving.

The 46-year-old, of Bradley Road in Patchway, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving on March 15.

Judge William Hart jailed him for 13 months.

He told McDonagh: “An explanation for why you chose to drive this way was an episode relating to paranoid schizophrenia.

“You overreacted when police arrived.

“That gives an explanation.

“In custody your mental health has stabilised and you have accepted your responsibility.”

The judge banned McDonagh from driving for two years, starting from his release from custody.

He was told to take and pass an extended driving test before returning to the road, and advised to seek help from mental health services in future.

Matthew Jackson, prosecuting, said police received a report about a man who seemed intoxicated in the area of Corbet Close, Lawrence Weston.

The court heard McDonagh, driving a red BMW Mini, was seen to drive into the back of a cyclist, throwing the rider to the ground.

Luckily the cyclist was protected by a cycling helmet as he struck his head – which the judge said highlighted the importance of their use.

Mr Jackson described how McDonagh sped off towards Long Cross and was estimated to be travelling at 50mph through 30 mph and 20 mph zones.

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The court heard when police closed on him McDonagh reversed at an officer, causing him to jump out of the way.

McDonagh then shot forwards and drove on the wrong side of Kings Weston Road.

Having become lost to sight, he police picked him up again travelling at an estimated 110 mph onto the M5 before he mounted the Aztec West roundabout, lost control and smashed into a road sign.

Mr Jackson said McDonagh was taken to hospital as a precaution.

He was not charged for drink driving, but a test three hours after his arrest showed he had 129 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The limit is 80.

The court heard it was his third conviction for dangerous driving.

Charles Digby, defending via video link, said: “Mr McDonagh is a confirmed paranoid schizophrenic.

“He’s on different medication than he was on at the time.

“It is not sure it was working or if he was taking it.

“It affected him on that day.”

Mr Digby said his client had demonstrated remorse and was very sorry for his behaviour.

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