Motorist travelled at speeds of up to 120mph

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A nurse who claimed he was late for work after being caught driving at speeds of up to 120mph on the M2 motorway near Newtownabbey has been told the consequences could have been “catastrophic”.

Christopher Tomb (28), of Sunningdale Park in north Belfast, was detected exceeding the 70mph limit in a red Toyota Celica on April 9 this year, Ballymena Magistrates Court heard on Thursday.

He was tracked over three miles by an un-marked police car which kept a steady distance behind and noted the speed was between 100mph and 120mph before they were able to pull the driver over.

A prosecutor said Tomb told police he knew he was going fast but thought it was between 80-90mph and was “not paying attention to the speedometer”.

Defence barrister Ben Thompson said the speed in the police vehicle was not calibrated and said there was a margin for error.

He said his client, a nurse, was “running late for work” but he admitted the speed was “grossly excessive”.

District Judge Peter King said courts had to send out a clear message that driving between 100 and 120mph cannot be tolerated.

He said such a speed, regardless of why he was doing it or the defendant’s clear record, was unacceptable “because the damage you could do on the road would be catastrophic”.

He banned Tomb for two months and fined him £350.

Bail of £250 was fixed for appeal and the defendant is allowed to drive in the mean time.