Man jailed after stealing Ashton car – with elderly woman inside

A MAN has been jailed for more than eight years after stealing a car and leading police on a wild chase through Ashton-under-Lyne – with a blind 89-year-old woman still in it.

David Stephenson jumped into the vehicle, which still had its engine running to keep the pensioner warm while her daughter headed to the shops in January,

He then had officers in pursuit at speeds of up to 66mph across the town, including Kings Road, Canterbury Street and driving the wrong way along the Northern Bypass.

Eventually, he was arrested at the junction of Cricket’s Lane and Mossley Road – now Stephenson has been locked up for eight years and six months after being found guilty of kidnap, theft of motor vehicle, dangerous driving and driving without a licence.

On Saturday, January 6, Greater Manchester Police received a panicked call from the daughter of the 89-year-old after her car had been stolen – with her mother in it.

As it was January, she had left the engine running to keep the heating on in the car to keep her elderly mother warm for 10 minutes while she went into the shops.

Stephenson, not fazed by the fact a vulnerable elderly woman was in the passenger seat, got in the car and drove off.

Specialist officers from GMP’s Roads Policing Unit were immediately notified, and a pursuit was authorised.

Now Stephenson, 41 and of no fixed abode has been jailed for his actions.

Chief Inspector Matt Jackson, of GMP’s Specialist Operations, said: “This must have been really terrifying for the woman who was in the passenger seat when the car got stolen.

“She is blind and has dementia, she wouldn’t have known what was going on – I can’t even begin to imagine what was going through her mind.

“I am proud of my officers, whose fast thinking and ability to remain calm in any given situation, meant we were able to bring the vehicle to a safe stop, and swiftly arrest Stephenson.

“Their response meant that the woman was safety reunited with her daughter, it could have ended very differently if we didn’t work the way we did to get her back safe.”

2 Replies to “Man jailed after stealing Ashton car – with elderly woman inside”

  1. Illegal to leave engine running whether there’s anyone in the car or not…insurance will be invalid. Lucky it didn’t cause any damage or injury.

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