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Police impersonator crashed car, waved knife then stripped naked

Police impersonator crashed car, waved knife then stripped naked

A booze-fuelled ex-soldier crashed his car into a wooden fence, waved a knife while pretending to be a policeman, then got naked.

David Saunders, 37, narrowly missed hitting a family as he drove into a traffic island at high speed in Ashford, Kent. He told them: ‘The fence got in my way.’

As a witness called 999, he tried to grab his phone and claimed he was an undercover cop.

When pedestrian Terry Stuart — also nearly hit — asked to see his ID, Saunders pulled a pair of handcuffs out of his wrecked Vauxhall Astra, then produced a kitchen knife.

He threatened to attack, waving the ‘medium-sized’ blade erratically as witnesses fled the scene around 3pm on November 20.

Real police later cornered him in a car park where he ‘stripped down eventually to complete nakedness’.

Officers were forced to pepper-spray him due to his ‘aggressive’ behaviour, Richard Mandel, prosecuting, told Canterbury Crown Court.

After throwing the knife in a bush, he was taken to nearby William Harvey Hospital but refused to give a breath sample and told police ‘no comment’.

He had shown onlookers his handcuffs to ‘prove’ he was a police officer – but later admitted he had them ‘for making prank TikTok videos’.

David Saunders. See SWNS story SWNNtiktok; A man who impersonated a police officer after crashing his car in Ashford has been jailed for a year and a half. David Saunders told members of the public who went to his aid that he was an 'undercover officer', before producing a set of handcuffs and a knife. The 37-year-old was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court on 13 January 2022 after admitting charges of threatening with a bladed article, impersonating a police officer, dangerous driving and failing to provide a specimen for analysis. Saunders' Vauxhall Astra collided with a traffic island in Beaver Road shortly before 3pm on 20 November 2021, after pedestrians had to jump out of its way. The car then mounted the pavement and hit a fence. Members of the public approached the vehicle to check on Saunders, who was in the driver's seat. Saunders tried to get the car started again, without success. He then told bystanders he was an undercover police officer and attempted to take a phone from a witness who was calling the emergency services.
Saunders said the fence he crashed into ‘got in my way’ (Picture: Kent Police / SWNS)
A general view of Canterbury Crown Court in Kent.
He was jailed for 18 months at Canterbury Crown Court (Picture: PA)

The labourer was jailed for 18 months at Canterbury crown court after pleading guilty to dangerous driving, threatening another with a blade, impersonating a police officer and failing to give a specimen.

He now has 25 convictions for 41 offences, many for violence or offensive weapons, the court heard.

Saunders blamed an unidentified passenger seen leaving the crash scene for his actions that day.

Sarah Selby, mitigating, said a passenger had convinced him to drive to a medical emergency after he drank four cans of lager and took prescribed painkillers.

Saunders had fought alcohol addiction after being bullied at school and his drinking worsened when he was wrongly discharged from the Army and suffered a family bereavement, the court heard.

Ms Selby said he had carried the knife for practical reasons.

But Recorder Laurence Harris warned the ex-soldier’s actions were ‘clearly serious offending’ as he sentenced him.

He said: ‘This must have been frightening to members of the public who you narrowly missed when you crashed into the fence.’

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