VIDEO: Speeding driver blamed fine on non-existent Mexican man
A driver claimed a man from Mexico was behind the wheel when his car was caught speeding in Plymouth.
Michael Tatem insisted to police that Carlos De La Vega was driving his Alfa Romeo when it went through a camera in Tavistock Road at 53 mph – 13mph above the speed limit – and led them on a wild goose chase to find the mystery Mexican.
But the 64-year-old could provide no evidence of Mr De La Vega's existence like a photograph, email address or proof that he was insured to drive the car.
Tatem, of Gulworthy in Tavistock, finally admitted the offence at Plymouth Crown Court yesterday. He pleaded guilty to willingly making a false statement (otherwise than on oath) contrary to the Perjury Act 1911.
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Prosecutor David Gittins explained to Judge Paul Darlow that the offence took place on January 25 last year. But when the police sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution request for driver details, Tatem wrote back giving the name and an address which was later found to be a bunker in Mexico.
Over the coming months, police spent hours trying to get to the bottom of the matter. They could find no trace of Mr De La Vega or evidence that he even existed. In later police interviews, Tatem admitted he had been the driver but still insisted that Mr De La Vega was a friend whom he'd met up with in London.
Mr Gittins added: "At no time has such existence been confirmed."
After the hearing, PC Dave Williams, the officer at the Safety Camera Partnership who investigated the case, said: "Even though I spoke to Mr Tatem he continued to stick to this incredible story that he allowed a man who he hadn't seen for many years, and had by chance met in London, to go to his house while Mr Tatem stayed in London and use his car throughout Plymouth and Cornwall.
"Mr Tatem eventually admitted he was the driver and the photos we have show that."
Mr Gittins added: "The judges are always saying in these cases if you didn't take a serious view of matters like this then you might as well throw away the cameras. That's why the courts always take a very serious view."
Tatem will be sentenced on September 13.