Zimbabwean UK man faces jail term for nearly running-over school pupils while fleeing police

DUNDEE, Scotland – A reckless driver who narrowly missed hitting pupils as he sped 300 yards along a pavement outside a school is facing a lengthy jail term.

Dad-of-three Geoffrey Goto, 31, was trying to escape from police who had pulled him over on Dundee’s Lawton Road.

The city’s sheriff court heard pupils walking along the pavement had to run into the road to avoid being hit by the unlicensed and uninsured driver.

Goto, of Dundee, denied two charges of dangerous driving, one of police assault, one of resisting arrest and eight other road traffic offences. But a jury yesterday found him guilty on all 12 charges.

Goto’s Ford Fiesta was stopped by officers outside Harris Academy’s temporary campus on June 6 last year.

They were looking for him in connection with an earlier dangerous driving incident.

PC Sean Petrie, 25, told the court: “We pulled in front of him to stop him and I got out. As I approached, he began to reverse.

“There was a lollipop man helping children cross in the middle of the road and he stopped just short of him.

“He then mounted the pavement and travelled along it for about 300 yards.

“On the other side of the pavement were the gates of the school playground. It was a sharp acceleration; he was going quick.

“There were children about and I saw a group of four schoolchildren who had to take evasive action to avoid a collision. Two or three of them had to run into the carriageway.”

Eilidh Robertson, prosecuting, told the jury: “It was only through sheer luck that no one was injured or worse.”

In the earlier incident, on January 9 last year, Goto was stopped in Macalpine Road, Dundee, after pulling out of a parking area at speed with no lights on in the dark.

He reversed when he was pulled over, going round a roundabout backwards, and drove off at a speed so fast that officers had to abandon their pursuit on safety grounds.

Two officers said they got a clear look at Goto, who is originally from Zimbabwe.

But Paul Parker Smith, defending, told PC Darren Smith, 42: “This is a dark-skinned gentleman. It was dark. These were not ideal conditions – you couldn’t have picked out his features?”

PC Smith replied: “I am clear he was the driver.”

Sheriff George Way deferred sentence until next month for reports and released Goto on bail.

He said: “As dangerous driving goes, it could only be made worse had there been actual harm or injury.

“He has to understand the almost inevitable penalty for that has to be prison.”

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