A MOTORIST who reached an estimated speed of 120mph after blasting past an unmarked police car has been hit with a driving ban.
Sionainn O'Neill (24), a hairdresser, with an address listed as Ballyness Park, Coleraine, was behind the wheel of a Volkswagen Golf when she passed an unmarked police car in a 70mph zone on the Frosses Road between Ballymena and Ballymoney on December 5 last year.
She was not present before Ballymena Magistrates Court where a defence lawyer entered a guilty plea to excess speed.
A prosecutor, Court News NI can report, said police were driving around 10am in lane one in the direction of Ballymoney when they observed the car approach from behind.
When the Golf passed the police it accelerated and police then accelerated and maintained a "constant, even, distance" and followed it for around a mile at a speed of 110mph.
They switched on blue lights and attempted to stop the Golf and noted the speed was then 115mph and reached an estimated speed of 120mph over a mile distance.
The prosecutor said the Golf eventually did stop, having been followed by police for a total distance of 2.6 miles.
The defendant had a clear record.
The defence lawyer said the defendant used to drive a Citroen C1 and was "not used to the speed" of the Golf 1.9 tdi.
The lawyer said the defendant instructed that "she did not see the police" and it was her "first journey" driving from Kilkeel to Coleraine, where she was going to see her family.
When stopped, he added, the defendant was "crying" in the presence of police who were "required to stay with her and she couldn't breath".
The lawyer said the defendant drives from "Kilkeel to Annalong" every day to work where she manages a salon whilst the owner is on maternity leave.
District Judge Nigel Broderick said the speed was "far too excessive" and added: "It does worry me that the police were following her for two and a half miles and she didn't notice them. That begs the question as to what attention she is paying to her surroundings".
He said he accepted it was not a laser speed recording but an estimated speed but said it was "clearly above 100mph".
The judge banned the defendant from driving for six weeks and fined her £200.