Tayside killer driver was issued with new licence in DVLA ‘administration error’

© DC Thomson
Halim Cholmeley appearing at Forfar Sheriff Court.

A killer Tayside driver jailed for the death of a Perth cabbie has been sent back to prison after a court heard how a DVLA blunder left him able to take to the road in a £50,000 weekend test drive Audi.

But Halim Cholmeley will be free within weeks after a six-month prison term was backdated to take into account the five weeks spent on remand by the 43-year-old recruitment consultant after the law caught up with him for a string of driving-related offences.

They included a third drink-related conviction in little over a decade for Cholmeley, from Broomhill,  Glen Prosen in rural Angus.

He was sentenced to six years in prison at Edinburgh High Court in 2010 for the crash which led to the death of Perth taxi driver Gavin McCabe on Dundee’s Kingsway in March 2009.

Cholmeley, who was travelling at almost 80 miles per hour just before he hit 41-year-old Mr McCabe’s car in the early hours smash, was banned and over the limit at the time.

He returned to the dock at Forfar sheriff court on Monday having last week admitted driving while disqualified in Angus on March 5 last year and failing to provide a specimen of breath.

He pled guilty to further charges of driving whilst disqualified in Montrose and elsewhere on November 5 2016, without insurance and whilst on bail.

Cholmeley also admitted a charge of obtaining a licence on June 7 last year whilst disqualified from doing so and two further charges of driving while disqualified, without insurance and whilst on bail on November 7 last year and October 27 this year.

In the first offence last March, Cholmeley was spotted by police who knew he was a banned driver. They lost sight of his vehicle but other officers went to his home in the glen and found him walking away from a vehicle.

He was acting suspiciously and smelling of alcohol, and police discovered he had tried to hide the keys to the car under the seat.

The November offences involved a high performance Audi SQ5 SUV which Cholmeley arranged to have for an extended test drive via a friend who worked in a dealership in Aberdeen.

Although he was able to provide a licence which appeared genuine, subsequent enquiries revealed he had obtained it in June as a result of the DVLA administration error.

Defence solicitor William Boyle said his client had been under the mistaken impression that he could automatically apply for his licence back after five years.

“He could have petitioned the court for his licence back, what he could not do was simply contact Swansea and ask for it, and that seems to have been what he has done,” said Mr Boyle.

“It’s not as if there was any subterfuge in applying for a fresh licence.

“He is not inured to going to prison, but is quite realistic about the outcome having committed a bad offence.”

Sheriff Alison McKay deferred sentence on some of the charges for the preparation of a restriction of liberty order assessment and Cholmeley will return to court in January for consideration of a further disposal involving an electronic tag.