Soldier who lied to police over car crash spared jail

Corporal Rhys Gooding now faces a court martial
Corporal Rhys Gooding now faces a court martial - CAVENDISH PRESS

A soldier who misled police over a car crash has been spared jail after a judge said that lying was a “common human response”.

Father-of-two Corporal Rhys Gooding, 32, who has served in the Army for 14 years, falsely reported his car as stolen when in fact he was seen running away from the vehicle after he crashed it while on home leave.

Police matched Gooding’s DNA to the car’s air bag, which inflated in the crash.

Sentencing him at Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Recorder Geoffrey Lowe admitted that it was “difficult to turn back” once someone had embarked on a series of lies.

Addressing Gooding, he said: “You are someone who presents in normal circumstances as an impeccable citizen and an exemplary and well-respected soldier.

’’The primary mischief in your behaviour was that police resources, at a time when they are scarce, were diverted and wasted.

’’But it seems to me once you tell a lie, you then embark on a series of lies because it’s difficult to avoid the consequences. That is a fairly common human response to situations.

’’This offence covers many areas of conduct relating to the whole series of offences in the criminal calendar.

“But it’s common sense to say that to lie because of a relatively minor road traffic offence or the fear of being breathalysed is towards the bottom end of the criminality of this offence.

’’Once engaged on a track, it’s difficult to turn back.’’

Gooding receives an Operational Service Medal for his work in the Middle East
Gooding receives an Operational Service Medal for his work in the Middle East - CAVENDISH PRESS

Gooding, who is stationed with the Royal Lancers at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire, was ordered to complete 240 hours’ unpaid work and pay £340 costs.

Gooding, who has been on tours to Afghanistan, Turkey, Cyprus and Kenya, will now face a court martial.

Earlier the court heard the crash took place in Rochdale in April 2022 when he was visiting friends.

Betsy Hindle, prosecuting, said: ‘’He rang the police to say his car was stolen and he had found it damaged whilst walking down the street.”

She added that police discovered he was lying when DNA tests on the airbags matched his saliva, showing he was driving the car when it crashed.

Gooding then admitted at a police station that he was the driver and had “panicked” and run off. He claimed his friends advised him to report the car as stolen.

A witness at the scene said he had appeared intoxicated as he ran off but Gooding told the court he was not drunk.

Gooding pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.

Huw Edwards, defending, said: ‘’This is not a sophisticated offence. This was an extremely foolish number of actions which occurred at a difficult time in his life. He wants to apologise to the court and the police, His remorse is heartfelt and genuine.”

Gooding was said to be suffering from depression after breaking up with his girlfriend of 13 years.