Jailed supercar driver from Bridgnorth vows to clear name
A businessman who was locked up in a Swiss prison for three months after being arrested for speeding in a supercar has vowed to fight to clear his name.
Father-of-three David Bentley, 49, from Bridgnorth, runs office design and refurbishment company Future Contracts with his family in Shifnal.
He was jailed along with Wolverhampton father Adrian Harrold and friend Julian Wilson, from Newark, after being stopped outside Zurich while taking part in this year’s Cannon Run 3000.
During the drive, they cruised through France, the Netherlands and Belgium without a hitch, before calling in at the world-famous Nurburgring racing circuit as they made their way through Germany.
But when the trio were driving across Switzerland in their £85,000 Nissan GT-Rs, police arrested them.
Swiss prosecutors said they were speeding in an unauthorised race. They are now said to have offered them a plea deal involving a suspended prison sentence and fines and court costs that run into thousands of pounds.
But today Geoffrey Harrold, the father of Mr Harrold, said both his son and Mr Bentley intend to fight the charges.
He said: “Our son and his friend David want to clear their names of these charges.
“When you consider they have been charged with nothing more than minor motoring offences, the punishment is extremely overinflated.”
The Zurich attorney general’s office said the men reached speeds of up to 177 kph (109mph), after ignoring the 120kph (75mph) speed limit.
Swiss prosecutors said their “high-risk driving” was carried out in heavy Whit Sunday traffic, creating an increased danger of collisions, injuries or deaths and was considered a serious traffic violation.
But Mr Harrold said the three men accepted what they thought were charges of exceeding the speed limit by 18mph for 4.2 seconds; and crossing over a white line for a distance of 5ft.
He claimed the new deal offered would have seen them paying up to £30,000 each.
It is understood that Mr Wilson, 40, from the East Midlands, has agreed to accept the offer. Mr Harrold says his son and Mr Bentley now expect to answer the charges in a Swiss court early next year.
The saga began when the trio decided to take part in the Cannon Run 3000, an annual Gumball rally type event which sees car enthusiasts drive from Maidstone to Monaco.
Their trip turned sour when they were arrested by police just outside Zurich on July 4. They were remanded in custody pending an investigation and subsequently jailed.
They were arrested, along with Mr Harrold’s wife, Tina and Mr Wilson’s wife, Andrea, and their cars were seized. The men were held, but their wives were released without charge after five days.
Mr Harrold said: “On returning to Britain our son was very regrettably in need of having one-to-one counselling to help overcome the severe trauma and depression that this has caused him.
“He becomes very emotional at the slightest thing. This has had a terrible impact on him and his family. I hope that with the passage of time he will get better, but for the three of them I know they will never be able to fully forget what they have been subjected to.”
The next court date has been set for December 11 in Zurich.
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