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Killer driver got licence back early after DVLA blunder 

Halim Cholmeley was banned in 2010 after causing the death of Gavin McCabe in Dundee.

Court: Cholmeley took £50,000 Audi SUV for test drive (file pic).
Court: Cholmeley took £50,000 Audi SUV for test drive (file pic).

A killer driver was handed his licence back four years early by the DVLA after an administration error.

Halim Cholmeley, 43, of Broomhill, Glen Prosen, Angus, went on to drive repeatedly despite being banned from the road over a high-speed crash that killed a taxi driver.

Forfar Sheriff Court heard heard he used the licence that should never have been issued to take a £50,000 Audi SUV for a two-day test drive.

Cholmeley admitted four charges of driving without a licence as well as failing to provide a breath sample, driving without insurance and obtaining a licence while disqualified.

He was jailed for six years and banned from the road for a decade in 2010 after causing the death of Gavin McCabe, 41, in Dundee the previous year.

Cholmeley was already disqualified and well over the legal limit when he ploughed his BMW into a taxi being driven by Mr McCabe in an apparent high-speed suicide bid.

Having been released from jail in 2013 the recruitment consultant was spotted behind the wheel of a car in March last year and followed back to his home by police.

Fiscal depute Stewart Duncan told the court officers found him walking away from the car and could smell alcohol when they confronted him.

Cholmeley then tried to hide the keys as he sat in the back of the police car then refused to provide a breath sample at police HQ having earlier failed a roadside test.

Three months later, in June 2016, with four years of his road ban still outstanding, Cholmeley sent off for a new licence, which was granted after an error by the DLVA.

'Due to an admin error the DVLA did not see his status as a disqualified driver and as such a new licence was issued with a new driver number.'
Stewart Duncan

In November 2016, he travelled to an Audi dealership in Aberdeen where he used the wrongly issued licence to secure a 48-hour test drive of a Audi SQ5 SUV.

He was spotted driving through Montrose by police who recognised him before travelling back to Aberdeen to hand the car in.

Then, on October 27 this year, he was seen at the wheel of a car on a rural road near Montrose without a valid licence and uninsured.

Mr Duncan said: "On June 6 last year, DVLA received a request for a new licence from the accused.

"Due to an admin error the DVLA did not see his status as a disqualified driver and as such a new licence was issued with a new driver number."

Cholmeley pleaded guilty to four charges of driving while disqualified, three of driving without insurance, one of failing to give a sample of breath and one of obtaining a licence while disqualified from driving.

Sheriff Alison McKay jailed Cholmeley for six months on the March 2016 case.

Sentencing on the later cases was deferred for background reports due to the "complications" brought on by the fact he had been granted a licence by DVLA.

Ms McKay also banned him from the road for five years.

Cholmeley will in court in January to be sentenced on the charges of obtaining a licence while disqualified and driving while disqualified in November 2016 and October this year.

He killed Gavin McCabe on the Kingsway in Dundee in March 2009 after taking the keys to his girlfriend's BMW without permission.

Cholmeley, who had been drinking, then drove at speeds of up to 70mph before crashing into the side of the taxi.

Mr McCabe was thrown from the driver's seat and suffered fatal head injuries.

His passenger Azeez Butali, 33, suffered injuries to his collarbone, shoulder and ribs and had to be cut from the wreckage.

Cholmeley survived with minor injuries and told onlookers he had been trying to kill himself.

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