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06-15-06, 05:17 AM #1
Speeder moved road sign to escape fine!
The lengths some people will go to, to escape punishment!
Speeder who moved 40mph sign 10 miles to escape a £60 fine
Some drivers will go to extraordinary lengths to escape a speeding fine.
But John Hopwood's efforts take some beating.
After being flashed by a speed camera in a 30mph zone he attempted to hoodwink the police by stealing a 40mph sign, driving it ten miles, refitting it beside the road where he was caught, photographing the scene and posting the picture to the fixed penalty office.
The plot might have worked but for some elaborate detection work described in court yesterday as 'as exciting as The Da Vinci Code'.
It involved the drafting in of a medical artist who specialises in the reconstruction of corpses' faces, who was able to prove that the sign in Hopwood's photograph was identical to one from the other location.
In the end Hopwood was the architect of his own downfall.
The 44-year-old motorist had in fact been flashed twice in the space of 24 hours in his Mazda 626.
The first time he was driving at 48mph in a 40mph stretch of Princess Road, Manchester.
The following morning he was snapped doing 41mph in Albert Royds Street, Rochdale, a 30mph zone.
The tickets he received in the post said, wrongly, that both zones had 30mph limits, so in an attempt to correct the facts in relation to the first offence and perhaps lessen his penalty, he took a photograph of a 40mph sign in Princess Road to send to the authorities. But what started out as an attempt to correct a mild injustice stirred Hopwood's less noble instincts and very quickly turned into an attempt to pervert justice.
He decided to detach the red-circle sign from its post, drive it to the site of the second offence ten miles away, mount it on a lamp-post there and photograph it again.
He sent both photos off to the penalties office - and even had the nerve to enclose a letter telling officers how 'angry, upset and shocked' he was at being branded a law-breaker.
"The best you could say is that it was a pretty unsophisticated piece of deception," said Sergeant Mark Beales, whose suspicions were immediately raised when he saw the two pictures.
"But the gall of the man in writing an outraged letter really is quite staggering."
Sergeant Beales, who works for Greater Manchester Casualty Reduction Partnership, noticed that the signs in both photos had a distinctive mark on them.
Hopwood maintained his innocence, so police called in an expert.
Medical artist Richard Neave was able to prove in a matter of hours that the sign in the photos was one and the same.
Yesterday Hopwood, of Hazel Grove, near Stockport, admitted attempting to pervert the course of justice and was facing a possible jail sentence rather than a £60 speeding fine.
"You have been very foolish," Judge Anthony Ensor told him at Manchester Crown Court.
"This is such a serious matter that a custodial sentence must be considered."
Elizabeth Nicholls, prosecuting, told the court: "This story is rather like a jigsaw puzzle. It could be seen as exciting as The Da Vinci Code - or maybe not."
The court heard that the wrong sign was in place for a number of days before being spotted and removed, meaning that many drivers could have been fooled into breaking the limit, risking accidents.
Prosecutions of drivers caught by the camera during that period have not been pursued.
Hopwood, said to be suffering stress because of his job working with children in care, also faces costs of thousands of pounds.
Sergeant Beales is the same officer who, last year, exposed a couple who concocted an elaborate story that a Bulgarian employee had been behind the wheel of their Mercedes when it was caught on camera. Chartered surveyors Stewart and Cathryn Bromley even travelled to Bulgaria to send themselves a postcard from the fictitious former worker. They were fined £9,200 for perverting the course of justice.
06-15-06, 05:39 AM #2FishTail Guest
Well done genius! The speeding ticket will get you £60 and 3 points. Perverting the course of justice is an unlimited sentence
06-15-06, 06:04 AM #3
Perverting the course of justice.
Weird choice of words. Pervert.Here Speeder, Speeder, Speeder
"Oderint dum metuant" - Caligula
"How come you only call me when someone's dead?"
06-15-06, 09:34 AM #4
Well he could have said 60 quid and you would say, what?Just because your sign off after you're shift is done, doesn't mean that it's over and put blinders on. You're a cop 24/7 wether you like it or not. If thats something you can't handle, you should find a new line of work!
06-15-06, 10:01 AM #5"When I'm driving along and I see a sign that says, CAUTION: SMALL CHILDREN AHEAD,
I slow down, and then it occurs to me, I'm not afraid of small children"!
06-15-06, 11:38 AM #6GrasshopperVerified LEO
- Join Date
- Rep Power
That is amazing. Not so much about the idiot who moved the sign, that is an old trick. But the fact that they used a freakin' forensic specialist to solve the thing. Good grief. That would take an act of God to pull of here.And Shepards we shall be,
for thee, My Lord, for thee,
Power hath descended forth from Thy hand,
That our feet may swiftly carry out Thy Command.
So we shall flow a river forth to Thee
And teeming with souls will it ever be.
In Nomine Patris, Et Filli, Et Spiritus Sancti.
06-15-06, 02:46 PM #7
I'm going to say something I've ALWAYS wanted to say to people on traffic stops.....:
IT"S A FUCKING SPEEDING TICKET!!!!! JUST PAY IT!!!!!No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13
"The Wicked Flee When No Man Pursueth: But The Righteous Are Bold As A Lion".
We lucky few, we band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~The opinions, beliefs, and ideas expressed in this post are mine, and mine alone. They are NOT the opinions, beliefs, ideas, or policies of my Agency, Police Chief, City Council, or any member of my department.
06-15-06, 03:21 PM #8Originally Posted by jmur5074SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING:
Lead is very hazardous to your health.
Always include Kevlar in your daily diet.
"I always believe in being prepared, even when I'm dressed in white tie and tails."
- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.
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