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Jobless father who smashed brand new £180,000 rental Ferrari while showing it off on a wet motorway is fined just £120 after court hears he is on state benefits


An unemployed father of two who crashed a brand new £180,000 Ferrari while showing it off on a wet motorway has been fined a mere £120 after a court heard he is on state benefits.

Luke McDonagh was not insured to drive the rental Portofino MSA convertible when he lost control and flipped it into a ditch after he was seen driving erratically along the M56 near Lymm, Cheshire, on March 14. 

McDonagh and a ‘colleague’, who was not named during the case at Warrington Magistrates Court, had rented the vehicle from a family friend who works in car sales and rentals. 

The colleague had driven the car from London but became ill, leading to McDonagh taking over before the crash. 

The married 25-year-old from Backford escaped injury and was able to walk away from the wreckage unscathed. Passing motorists stepped to help his friend from the front passenger seat. 

Luke McDonagh was driving the rental Portofino MSA convertible Ferrari when he lost control and flipped it into a ditch

He had been seen driving erratically along the M56 near Lymm, Cheshire

Luke McDonagh was driving the rental Portofino MSA convertible Ferrari when he lost control and flipped it into a ditch after he was seen driving erratically along the M56 near Lymm, Cheshire

Moments before the accident, McDonagh drove past a car at 'significant' speed then swerved to avoid another before braking harshly (stock image)

Moments before the accident, McDonagh drove past a car at ‘significant’ speed then swerved to avoid another before braking harshly (stock image)

The red Ferrari had been registered just a fortnight earlier but it emerged that McDonagh was uninsured to drive the rental vehicle as he was not covered under the terms of a trade policy taken out by the family friend’s business. 

No one was injured in the crash. 

Moments before the accident, McDonagh drove past a car at ‘significant’ speed then swerved to avoid another before braking harshly.

He then illegally undertook a third car driving in lane three before the Ferrari skidded across a wet area of the motorway and crashed into a ditch, tipping onto its side. 

Prior to the accident he was asked to take over at the wheel near Junction 18 of the M6 near Knutsford when the original driver became unwell during a trip from London.

The incident took place near junction 10 along the M56 and the cost of the damage to the Ferrari is not yet known.

At Warrington Magistrates Court, McDonagh admitted to driving without due care and attention and having no insurance. In addition to the fine, he was also banned from driving for six months.

McDonagh was later seen being driven away in a brand new Land Rover Defender which got a parking ticket after it was left on a double yellow line outside the courthouse. 

He then illegally undertook a third car driving in lane three before the Ferrari skidded across a wet area of the motorway and crashed

He then illegally undertook a third car driving in lane three before the Ferrari skidded across a wet area of the motorway and crashed

Prosecutor Andrew Madden said: ‘This matter dates back to Tuesday March 14 of this year. The witness Mr Tarry was driving westbound along the M56 near junction 10, it was daylight and though the road surface was wet the visibility was good.

‘Mr Tarry stated that a red car passed very quickly and stated that the speed difference was significant. 

‘The vehicle was described as out of control. It swerved into lane three from lane two to avoid a car and braked harshly. It then went back into lane two and undertook a vehicle before moving back into lane three.

‘The red car then completely lost control and it skidded before appearing to drive off the motorway, down into a nearside ditch of approximately three feet. Mr Tarry could see the underside of the car and realised at this point it was a Ferrari.

‘Mr Tarry and other passers-by got the passenger from the vehicle. The male driver exited himself and was identified as the defendant.

‘He was interviewed in relation to this matter. He gave “No comment” to all questions put to him.’

McDonagh was later seen being driven away in a brand-new Land Rover Defender which got a parking ticket after it was left on a double yellow line outside the courthouse

McDonagh was later seen being driven away in a brand-new Land Rover Defender which got a parking ticket after it was left on a double yellow line outside the courthouse 

McDonagh had a previous conviction for driving whilst disqualified from January 2022. 

His lawyer Ceri Lewis said: ‘Mr McDonagh had rented a car off a family friend, Patrick Barry, who is involved in car sales and rentals. The car was rented by him and one of his colleagues.

‘The colleague had driven the car from London but he became unwell and he had taken over from junction 18 near to the M56. That is the reason he was driving the car. He thought he was insured by way of a motor trade policy but he has since learnt that was not the case.

‘As regards driving without due care, his standard of driving did fall below that of a normal, careful and competent person. I ask that you deal with him as leniently as possible. 

‘I ask for penalty points as opposed to a disqualification. He is in receipt of benefits but he is hoping to get a job soon. As he is in receipt of benefits, I ask that you fine him appropriately

McDonagh was also ordered to pay £168 in costs and a victim surcharge.

JP Timothy Mullins told him: ‘Your driving was well below the standard we expect and there was excessive speed for the conditions.

‘There could have been a very, very nasty accident for yourself or others.’



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