A man who led police on a dangerous chase through the streets of Oldham where he “could have killed a child” has narrowly avoided jail.

Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard that Lewis Connolly came to the attention of officers in the town in June last year while he was driving a Volkswagen Golf.

As officers tried to direct him to pull over he shot off and tried to escape.

Footage was played to the court lasting four minutes which showed the vehicle going over a roundabout, travelling on the wrong side of the road, mounting a pavement multiple times to get past oncoming traffic and exceeding the speed limit.

The incident came to an end when Connolly went onto the pavement and collided with a pedestrian barrier.

The 23-year-old was found to have a knuckle duster, which he claimed was being used to open a box and so claimed he had a reasonable excuse for possessing it.

He went on trial but was found to have no excuse and so found guilty.

Connolly pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving without a licence or insurance and failing to stop when required to do so and appeared in court to be sentenced.

Representing the man from Midhurst Avenue in Manchester, defence counsel Adrian Palmer asked for him to be spared immediate custody.

He said there was a letter from his mother highlighting how the family relied on him and he had been out of trouble for five years since receiving a caution as a youth.

Judge Maurice Greene interjected: “It is a really bad bit of dangerous driving, the way he was going on the pavement, he could have killed a child.”

Mr Palmer said his client had learnt his lesson and the footage was “seared into this young man’s memory.”

Imposing a sentence, the judge said: “At any time an adult or child could have been on the pavement and you could have killed them, you would be going to prison for ten years.

“What possessed you on this occasion to behave in this manner?”

“Clear this is not something you do on a regular basis, it is difficult to ascertain.”

He added: “The fact that you going to custody would have a considerable impact on others and there seems to be a realistic prospect of rehabilitation I have decided only just, and it is only just, to suspend the sentence.

He suspended a sentence of 10 months for two years, ordered him to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work, attend at ten rehabilitation requirement days and banned him from driving for two years.