A THIEF who led police on a 100mph chase on the A64 after stealing a taxi from York railway station is now behind bars.

Luke Dean Michael Kilminster, 31, stole the taxi from the rank on the afternoon of September 27 as the driver was helping his fare load cases into the boot.

He sped away from the station with the boot still open, and fled the city onto the A64 where he drove at speeds far in excess of the speed limit across both lanes and on the central reservation, only stopping after hitting and writing off a BMW containing a man and his 11-year-old son.

York Crown Court heard on Monday that Kilminster, of Elm Court, Helmsley, managed to get out of the badly-damaged taxi and fled into nearby farmland where he was arrested about five minutes later while hiding in a sheep trough.

Although uninjured, he was taken to York Hospital after complaining he felt unwell, and the court heard that the following day - while the curtains were drawn around his bed - he used his drip stand to smash the window of his first floor room and made a break for freedom. However, he was found by hospital security about 10 minutes later, sitting in hospital grounds after feeling unwell again.

Kilminster appeared by video link at York Crown Court on Monday, where he admitted escaping police custody, and faced sentencing for aggravated theft of the taxi, driving without insurance or a licence.

The court was read a statement from the driver of the BMW, who had been returning from visiting his father in hospital when he was struck by Kilminster in the stolen taxi, and whose 11-year-old son was in the passenger seat at the time.

He said: “I went left from the outside lane to the inside lane, virtually facing the the way I had come from, to a halt feet from a ditch near a large tree. I really don’t know how I managed to get away without hitting any other vehicles.”

The driver said the stress of the incident had affected his whole family, and brought back memories of a fatal car crash which killed his brother just two years ago.

He said he now found it difficult to concentrate, had suffered from stiffness, a sore neck and bruises, and had overlooked his wife’s birthday through anxiety caused by Kilminster’s actions.

The owner of the Hackney carriage said he had to pay £600 to cover his insurance excess after Kilminster wrote off the vehicle, and had lost personal items and cash totalling almost £500 at the time of the crash. He had also been unable to work for three weeks and had to pay to register his new vehicle with the council, and said he now felt “very apprehensive about going back”.

Mark Partridge, for Kilminster, said his actions were “unforgivable”, and a pre-sentence report suggested his client was unhappy he would miss the birth of his second child due to his expected prison sentence.

The Honorary Recorder of York, Judge Paul Batty QC, said: “Why on earth should that form any mitigation, the fact he’s impregnated his girlfriend?”

Mr Partridge acknowledged it did not, but Kilminster had suffered from depression, “and does not know how his mind will be at the time”.

Judge Batty said he was unhappy that dangerous driving charges had not been brought against Kilminster for his “most appalling” driving, and sentenced him to 16 months in prison for stealing the taxi, and eight months for escaping custody.

He said: “My powers in this case of sentence are in my judgement far too limited. You should have been charged with the additional charge of dangerous driving, instead of an offence of aggravated vehicle taking.

“Your only point in mitigation was a guilty plea, even though you were caught red handed, I’m obligated to give you one-third reduction. This is as bad a case of aggravated vehicle taking as I have ever come across. Absolutely appalling.”