Speeding granny sends Clarkson to jail
Magistrates sitting last Thursday in Solihull found Joan Brown (93) guilty of speeding in the pedestrianized portion of the High Street on her motorised disability scooter. Mother of four, Joan, was discovered by police to be travelling at 35 miles an hour. The maximum permissible speed for a disability scooter is 4mph on the pavement and 8mph on a road.
Mervin Merryweather, (63) counsel for the defence , said Mrs Brown was not aware of the true speed of her disability scooter since modifications had been made to the speedometer by Jeremy Clarkson, presenter of BBC TV’s Top Gear programme. The modifications enabled the scooter engine to travel up to 70mph on roads whilst showing a speed of only 10mph.
He said his client was used to travelling at speed since she was a pilot during the second world war, delivering all kinds of aircraft to British airfields, including spitfires from the Castle Bromwich factory.
Mr Clarkson (52) was asked to explain why he had undertaken the modification to Mrs Brown’s scooter. He said he realised that making changes to a speedometer were illegal but it annoyed him to travel behind old people who drove very slowly. He recently undertook the same modifications to a car as part of a recent Top Gear programme and drove it on the road. After the programme was aired on Sunday, 24 February 2013, he was inundated with requests to perform the same modification to other vehicles which he was happy to do.
Asked by the magistrates to identify the person who requested Mrs Brown’s speedometer to be modified, father of three, Clarkson, said he couldn’t remember the name. He said, “Some old biddy in a blue cardigan appeared in my workshop waving £100 notes under my nose. She didn’t give any details and I wasn’t going to ask any questions. I just took the money and made the changes.”
Mr Merryweather told the court his client believed a Belinda Hoggetts of 22, Whitehouse Way, Solihull, was responsible for the modifications to her disability scooter. Mrs Hoggetts worked for Age UK (Solihull) and managed the scheme for loaning scooters to Solihull residents who wished to go shopping in Solihull pedestrianized area.
When questioned, Mrs Hoggetts (46) admitted she had paid Mr Clarkson to modify Mrs Brown’s scooter. She said, “My husband, Trevor, is a great fan of Top Gear. When he saw the changes Jeremy Clarkson made to his motor vehicle to make it more convenient for older adults, he suggested I should approach Mr Clarkson to make similar changes to our Age UK disability scooters. Mrs Brown’s scooter had recently come back to us for a service, so I took it to Mr Clarkson’s workshop in Chipping Norton and paid him for the modifications.”
In sentencing Mrs Brown, magistrates agreed she was only partly responsible for her crime. She was fined £400 and ordered to do sixty hours community service. Mr Clarkson was remanded in custody charged with making illegal modifications to motor vehicles. He was also bound over to keep the peace after shouting at the magistrates calling them “Country buffoons without an ounce of common sense” and declaring he was immune from prosecution because he was a BBC presenter. Mrs Hoggetts was also fined £400 and ordered to do 500 hours community service.
The above is a work of fiction!