Malton businessman blamed terminally ill wife and elderly relatives for his speeding offences

A businessman tried to avoid 16 speeding tickets by pinning the blame on his dying wife and a vulnerable elderly relative.

Andrew Laird

Andrew Laird, 51, of Fryton near Slingsby, Malton, was sentenced for fraud and perverting the course of justice at York Crown Court on Friday.

Over a three-year period, he received the 16 notices of intended prosecution for speeding from several police forces, including North Yorkshire.

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Yet the financial advisor, who has five children, claimed he wasn’t behind the wheel on any of the occasions.

Laird blamed his late wife, who was seriously ill at the time and unable to drive. She has since passed away.

He also pretended two other relatives were driving on other occasions, including one elderly relative who was also unable to drive due to a serious medical condition.

He went as far as renewing the elderly relative’s licence in 2018, despite their health issues having prevented them from driving for a number of years.

But his lies were uncovered during an investigation by North Yorkshire Police’s Major Collision Investigation Team, which also conducts in-depth investigations into road-related offences.

Laird was charged with perverting the course of justice and fraud between 2015 and 2018. The offences related to several locations around North Yorkshire and some outside the county.

He pleaded guilty to 16 counts of the former charge and one of the latter when the case reached court.

At York Crown Court, the judge said the offences would ordinarily mean an immediate prison sentence, but acknowledged that Laird had been through a difficult period with his wife's illness and death as well as the deaths of his parents.

He was sentenced to two years in jail suspended for 12 months.

The court also heard how his convictions mean he can no longer work as a financial advisor, which was one of his business interests.

Detective Sergeant Kirsten Aldridge who led the case for North Yorkshire Police, said: “It’s sickening that Laird deliberately targeted the most vulnerable members of his family - those who could not speak up for themselves. We hope this has given them a voice

“The court heard how Laird had been going through a difficult time, but nevertheless his actions were extremely unethical - it’s difficult to imagine how anyone with morals could implicate vulnerable loved ones in this way.

“Laird was put before the courts as a result of a significant police investigation. And while it’s disappointing that his conviction for these serious offences did not result in a custodial sentence today, the defendant has been held to account for his offences.”

Traffic Constable Laura Cleary, who conducted the investigative work in the case, added: “Giving false details on a speeding notice is a serious offence, and not something we will ever overlook.

“We work tirelessly to keep communities and motorists safe by tackling excessive speed, which is referred to as one of the ‘fatal four’ motoring offences.

“The reasons we do this are simple - it’s illegal, it dramatically increases the chances of casualties, and as roads policing officers we see first-hand the devastation excessive speed causes, both to those it maims or kills and to the families they leave behind.

“We investigate all fatal collisions and can say with certainty that speed often plays a significant part in them regardless of whether this is on a rural road, built-up residential area or on a motorway.”