Car ablaze at end of police pursuit

A Kaiapoi man has been jailed for eight months for a police pursuit which ended with road spikes being used and a stolen car catching fire.

Christopher Warren Corfield, a 33-year-old mechanic with a bad record of offending, was urged by Christchurch District Court Judge Tom Gilbert to think carefully about his future as a father.

Defence counsel Todd Nicholls told the sentencing session that Corfield accepted his list of previous offences was appalling, but he was now in a stable relationship and wanted to be a dad to his daughter who he had not seen for several months.

Judge Gilbert said Corfield had seven pages of computer print-out listing his previous convictions, but he had skills which would be in demand in Christchurch.

“You need to think about whether you want to be part of your child’s life,” he said. “If you carry on like this you won’t be, except in the prison visiting area and no child should grow up with that being the first memories of their father.”

He noted that Corfield committed his driving offences while already on supervision and community work sentences, and the driving “could well have killed people”.

Corfield had admitted unlawfully getting into a car which had previously been stolen, reckless driving, and failing to stop for the police. Probation asked for him to be resentenced because of his supervision breaches.

Corfield had been put on supervision early this year after admitting receiving a four-wheel-drive vehicle and a boat which had previously been stolen separately, and which were found at his address when police executed a search warrant.

The chase began at 11pm on September 15 when Corfield was driving a vehicle with two associates at Ohoka, North Canterbury. Police wanted to stop him for speeding but he sped away at more than 150km an hour, driving around blind corners on the wrong side, and crossing the centreline.

He drove across a round-about Williams Street, Kaiapoi, lifting two wheels off the ground, before police used road spikes and blew one tyre, but he kept going into the Tuahiwi area.

Corfield and his passengers threw items – including a tablet computer – out of the car at the pursuing police. “No doubt they weren’t your own,” said the judge.

Another set of road spikes burst the other three tyres and the car came to a stop 200m further on, where it burst into flames while the occupants were arrested. The car was wrecked.

Judge Gilbert jailed him for eight months and disqualified him from driving for nine months. Corfield will probably be eligible for release in January after being held in custody on remand since his arrest. He would only serve half of an eight-month term.

Another occupant of the car, Michelle Susan Wallace, 32, of Kaiapoi, was jailed for three years last month on charges of supplying methamphetamine, breaching her community work sentence, possession of a class C drug, and possession of utensils for using drugs.

Judge Gary MacAskill said at her sentencing that she had a substantial list of previous convictions, had no empathy for her victims or insight into her offending, and blamed her own meth addiction.

Defence counsel Margaret Sewell had told the court that Wallace had a serious drug problem, and needed a residential drug treatment programme.


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