A BEREAVED motorist has avoided a driving ban and kept his freedom despite being caught speeding 16 times in three years.

Father-of-five Andrew Peter Laird, 51, admitted 16 offences of perverting justice by using the names of his sister, his dying wife and his now deceased mother when a police camera clocked him speeding.

He was given a two-year prison term suspended for a year.

After the case, Detective Sergeant Kirsten Aldridge, of North Yorkshire Police, called his actions “callous and calculated”.

She said: “It’s difficult to imagine how anyone with morals could implicate vulnerable loved ones in this way.”

Laird’s barrister Catherine Silverton told York Crown Court he had been living in a daze as he coped with the death of his parents and the unexpected fatal illness and death of his wife, and could not remember the offences.

He had given up his job as a financial adviser to look after his children.

“His only concern throughout has been that he should not shatter the lives of his five children any more than they have been shattered already by the loss of their mother and grandparents,” she said.

Two psychologists reported to the court that Laird had been suffering from complex bereavement and adjustment disorders and post traumatic stress disorder.

The Recorder of York, Judge Sean Morris, said: “This is the most exceptional case I have read.

“All the guidance indicates this sentence should be suspended.”

He also decided not to ban Laird from driving after Ms Silverton told him of the impact upon the family of him not being able to drive.

Laird lives in Slingsby near Malton.

Allan Armbister, prosecuting, said Laird had been speeding on dual carriageways or motorways apart from one incident in a 30mph zone.

Had he given his true name he could have been disqualified twice or three times.