A WHITEHAVEN father who was driving on the M6 Motorway with his three young children in the car reached 140mph.

Magistrates imposed a suspended jail sentence on Lee Tyson after hearing that police clocked his excessive speed as he was driving between Penrith and Tebay on November 18 last year.

They illuminated their blue lights and siren when the speed of his BMW 520 crept up to double the national speed limit, Carlisle’s Rickergate court heard.

Sellafield worker Tyson, of Basket Road, Whitehaven, admitted dangerous driving.

Prosecutor Pam Ward said police officers noticed the BMW as it sped along the motorway, driving fast for a distance of around 10 miles.

His average speed was 116mph over a 10 mile distance. At one point, he drove through roadworks. In the car at the time were the defendant’s three children, the youngest being just nine months old.

Chris Toms, for Tyson, said the defendant had no previous convictions, and a completely clean driving licence.

“He was driving down the motorway and got carried away,” said the lawyer.

“He has no other explanation. He wasn’t in any rush to get somewhere; he was simply driving down the motorway, not paying attention to his speed.

“It crept up to the point where it was over 100mph. I’ve seen the video, and the motorway was relatively clear, but not totally clear.

“It wasn’t raining and there was no incident; no evidence of vehicles swerving out of the way. He was speeding down a relatively clear motorway, and nobody had to take avoiding action.

“The only issue was his speed.”

“When he hit 140mph, the police illuminated their lights.

“He did go through some roadworks. Despite it being over 10 miles, he was not being chased; and there were no dangerous manoeuvres.”

Mr Toms said that the defendant, who wept as she stood awaiting sentence, was terrified of the situation he had found himself in. He was at a complete loss to explain how it happened and wanted to say sorry. The lawyer added: “He’s had his lesson. This is a good man who has had a moment of madness.”

A Probation Service officer who assessed Tyson said: “He was very upset and remorseful throughout the interview; he said it was just a one-off, due to the day and to the circumstances. It wasn’t until the police had their lights on that he realised he was going as fast as he was.”

Magistrates imposed a 12 week jail term, but suspended the sentence for a year.

They ordered Tyson to do 150 hours of unpaid work in the community, and banned him from driving for 20 months. Tyson will have to take an extended retest before he can drive unsupervised again.

He must also pay a £115 victim surcharge, and £85 costs.