‘Callous’ motorist blamed dying wife for speeding tickets

Andrew Laird
8 Jan 2021 @ 4.04 pm
| Crime

A North Yorkshire businessman tried to avoid 16 speeding tickets by pinning the blame on his dying wife and a vulnerable elderly relative.

Andrew Laird, 51, of Fryton near Slingsby, Malton, was sentenced for fraud and perverting the course of justice today.

Over a three-year period, he received the 16 notices of intended prosecution for speeding from several police forces, including North Yorkshire.

But he claimed he wasn’t behind the wheel on any of the occasions.

Laird blamed his wife, who unable to drive at the time due to a very serious illness and has sadly since died.

He also pretended two other relatives were driving on other occasions, including one elderly relative who was also unable to due to a serious medical condition.

He went as far as renewing the elderly relative’s licence in 2018, despite their medical condition having prevented them from driving for a number of years.

Lies uncovered

But his lies were uncovered during an investigation by North Yorkshire Police’s Major Collision Investigation Team, which also conducts in-depth investigations into road-related offences.

Laird was charged with perverting the course of justice and fraud between 2015 and 2018. The offences related to several locations around North Yorkshire and some outside the county.

He pleaded guilty to 16 counts of the former charge and one of the latter when the case reached court.

At York Crown Court today, the judge praised the police investigation and said the offences would ordinarily mean an immediate custodial sentence, but acknowledged that Laird had been through a difficult time.

He was sentenced to two years, suspended for 12 months.

The court also heard how his convictions mean he can no longer work as a financial advisor, which was one of his business interests.

Targeted vulnerable relatives

York Crown Court. Photograph: Richard McDougall

After the hearing, Detective Sergeant Kirsten Aldridge who led the case for North Yorkshire Police, said: “It’s sickening that Laird deliberately targeted the most vulnerable members of his family – those who could not speak up for themselves. We hope this has given them a voice.

“The court heard how Laird had been going through a difficult time, but nevertheless his actions were callous and calculated – it’s difficult to imagine how anyone with morals could implicate vulnerable loved ones in this way.

“Laird was put before the courts as a result of a significant police investigation. And while it’s disappointing that his conviction for these serious offences did not result in a custodial sentence today, this case speaks volumes about the defendant.”

Traffic Constable Laura Cleary, who conducted much of the investigative work in the case, said: “Giving false details on a speeding notice is a serious offence, and not something we will ever overlook.

“We work tirelessly to keep communities and motorists safe by tackling excessive speed, which is referred to as one of the ‘fatal four’ motoring offences.

“The reasons we do this are simple – it’s illegal, it dramatically increases the chances of casualties, and as roads policing officers we see first-hand the devastation excessive speed causes, both to those it maims or kills and to the families they leave behind.

“We investigate all fatal collisions and can say with certainty that speed often plays a significant part in them regardless of whether this is on a rural road, built-up residential area or on a motorway.”