A career criminal laughed as he was jailed for stealing an emergency ambulance before leading the police on an erratic 40-mile pursuit.
Graham Ellis, 40, stole the ambulance that had arrived to treat his pregnant girlfriend for injuries after she was assaulted, a court heard.
Roads Policing Unit officers managed to bring the pursuit to an end after successfully deploying a stinger on the vehicle.
Ellis was jailed for 44 months and three weeks at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.
As the sheriff set out the sentence, Ellis, who appeared via a video link from HMP Grampian, sat back in his chair and laughed while drawing on a vape pen and exhaling a cloud of vapour, as reported by the Daily Record.
Ellis previously pled guilty to charges of theft, dangerous driving, drink-driving, driving with an expired licence and driving without insurance during the incident on 18th November 2020.
Ellis, who was also banned from driving for four years, six months and 15 days, drove the emergency ambulance with 32 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath when the legal limit in Scotland is 22 microgrammes.
Ellis also admitted breaching a non-harassment order.
He had faced a further charge of assaulting his pregnant girlfriend at an address on Wellpark, Kemnay, which he denied.
Following a trial, a remote jury found the case against him not proven.
The pursuit covered the B993 between Kemnay and Tillyfourie, the A944 to Alford, the A97 to Lumsden, the B9002 to Elrick, and the A941 to Dufftown.
During the pursuit, Ellis repeatedly drove through blind corners on the wrong side of the road and repeatedly swerved into the path of oncoming vehicles, forcing them to take evasive action.
At one point, he also collided with the parapet of a bridge, leaving it damaged.
Fiscal depute Felicity Merson told the court an ambulance was called at around 0530 hours due to Ellis’ partner’s injuries.
The ambulance crew decided to take the female victim to the hospital, but one of the ambulance technicians noticed the vehicle moving forward.
He initially thought he had left the handbrake off, but then saw Ellis in the driver’s seat, who “accelerated away harshly”.
A police car positioned itself behind the ambulance and activated its blue lights and siren, signalling it to stop, which it failed to do, and a pursuit was declared.
Mrs Merson told the court Ellis drove the ambulance around blind corners and on the wrong side of the road, swerving across double white lines and into oncoming traffic.
She added: “Police witnesses describe the manner of driving as erratic.”
Ellis continued to straddle the centre line in an apparent bid to prevent the pursuing police cars from overtaking and also collided with the stone parapet of a small bridge, causing minor damage.
The vehicle was “contained” by police cars, and Ellis was “forcibly removed from the ambulance and arrested”.
Mrs Merson said he told police he’d seen the ambulance with its engine running and thought, “I’m in trouble anyway, so why not?”
On sentencing Ellis, Sheriff Philip Mann said:
“The theft of the ambulance deprived the public of the use of emergency services and that could have had quite significant and potentially disastrous consequences for anyone who might have had the need for the emergency services.”
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