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Mail Van Thief Behind Bars After Driving Rampage

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7:01am 4th October 2012

A Landrake teenager who admitted carjacking a mail van and driving so dangerously he wrote off two cars in Saltash is starting three years in a young offenders institution.

Truro Crown Court heard how eighteen year old Adam Johnson thought his mobile phone with pictures of his baby had been stolen.

He stole a bottle of lager from a Saltash shop, attempted to rob a woman of her car, robbed the driver of a Post Office employee of his van and then drove dangerously, writing off two vehicles and causing nearly £14,000 damage as he travelled towards his home at Home Park, Landrake.

"It was only by the grace of God that no-one was killed," declared Judge John Neligan.

Johnson, who pleaded guilty to theft, robbery, attempted robbery and dangerous driving was sent to a young offenders' institution for three years.

He was also banned from driving for three years and until he passes an extended test.

Defence counsel Emma Birt revealed that Johnson had been suffering from depression since the split up of his parents but since a change of his medication he had proved to be a bright, polite young man with an unusual insight into what he had done during the hour on May 1 last when he became very disorientated.

"When arrested all he could say was that he wanted to pay the shopkeeper for the bottle of lager," she said.

Prosecutor Elaine Hobson said that after Johnson had stolen the lager he approached Mrs Adele Hankins in Fore Street, Saltash and ordered her  "get out of your car or I will ******* kill you."

"She was very frightened and shaken but was also very angry and gathered her senses and drove off," said Miss Hobson.

Johnson then made his way to the post office in Wesley Road where he aggresively demanded the keys to Gareth Scott's van. He threatened to stab Mr Scott who did not see a weapon but believed he was holding one in his pocket.
It was rush hour and heavy traffic impeded Johnson as he drove towards Landrake, going the wrong way around a roundabout and contravening traffic lights and road signs before colliding with an oncoming van.

"When arrested and cautioned Johnson just laughed," said Miss Hobson.

The Post Office van was a write off and Johnson had damaged several other cars.

Judge Neligan described Johnson's driving as "extremely dangerous" but it was plain he was disturbed at the time.

He ordered that the 153 days he had already spent in custody should count towards his sentence.

7:01am 4th October 2012

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