A BMW driver who crashed while showing off to his girlfriend has been jailed after he tried to lie his way out of trouble.

Gareth Morgan and Hazel Early ran off after he lost control and hit another car on a roundabout and then rang the police to report that the car had been stolen before the accident.

He made a statement to police claiming he was not the driver and was backed up by Early, who also told police the car had been stolen.

Morgan, 24, of Middle Combe Drive, Barnstaple, admitted dangerous driving and perverting the course of justice and was jailed for two months and banned from driving for a year by Recorder Jonathan Barnes at Exeter Crown Court.

Early, aged 24, of Bulldog Fish Farm, Barnstaple, admitted perverting the course of justice and was jailed for three weeks, suspended for a year and ordered to do 100 hours unpaid community work.

The judge told Morgan: “You were in a car with your girlfriend. I suppose you were showing off to her. You crashed and then you ran off. Afterwards, you complained to police the car had been stolen and Early made a statement supporting that.

“It is right to say that within a very short time she tried to persuade Morgan to go back to the police and tell the truth but he only did so after he was arrested.”

William Hunter, prosecuting, said Morgan crashed his BMW on the A39 at Roundswell at 9.10 pm on March 14 last year.

He entered the roundabout near Sainsbury’s too fast, lost control, and hit a Ford Focus so hard it was thrown off the road and written off.

He carried driving for some time despite having a damaged wheel and then both he and Early abandoned the car and ran off.

He reported it stolen the next morning and she made a statement supporting his story.

Police inquiries led officers to conclude he had been the driver and he confessed after being arrested and questioned for a second time.

Paul Grumbar, for Morgan, said he carried out the deception for a very short time and backed down at the earliest opportunity. He has never been in trouble before, works hard, and has a supportive family and excellent references.

Richard Crabb, for Early, said she had tried to talk Morgan out of the plan. She has no previous convictions and even a short jail sentence would have a hugely damaging effect on her future.