Driver who killed man in Dundee given licence back four years early after DVLA ‘admin error’

Halim Cholmeley

A killer driver was handed his licence back four years early by bungling DVLA bosses – with the crook going on to drive repeatedly while banned from the road over the horror death crash.

Halim Cholmeley was today jailed after admitting four charges of driving without a licence, as well as failing to provide a sample of breath when caught smelling of alcohol at the wheel and others of driving without insurance and obtaining a licence while disqualified.

In one instance the brazen criminal used the licence that he should never have been issued to take a £50,000 Audi SUV for a two-day test drive.

Cholmeley, a recruitment consultant who organises shooting expeditions in Angus, was jailed for six years and banned from the road for a decade in 2010 after he killed Gavin McCabe in a horror smash in Dundee.

The 44-year-old was already disqualified and well over the booze limit when he ploughed his BMW motor into a taxi being driven by Mr McCabe in an apparent high-speed suicide bid.

Having been released from jail in 2013 Cholmeley was spotted behind the wheel of a motor in March 2016 and followed back to his home by police.

Fiscal depute Stewart Duncan told Forfar Sheriff Court that officers found him walking away from the car and when they confronted him immediately smelled alcohol.

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 to the DVLA for a new licence.

Amazingly, thanks to an “admin error”, motoring chiefs issued him a full UK licence.

In November 2016 he travelled to an Audi dealership in Aberdeen where he used the wrongly issued licence – knowing full well he was banned – to secure a 48-hour test drive of a £50,000 Audi SQ5 SUV.

He was spotted driving through Montrose by cops 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 – again without a valid licence and completely 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, 43, of Broomhill, Glen Prosen, Angus, pleaded guilty to four charges of driving whilst 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.

Defence solicitor Billy Boyle said: “He believed in his mind that he had his licence back because of the time that elapsed.

“After he discovered that wasn’t the case he thought he better get himself a licence.

“He passed a medical and paid the fees and sent off the application and was granted one and was in possession of a licence from then.

“That doesn’t exculpate him but it does mitigate it.”

Sheriff Alison McKay jailed Cholmeley for six months on the March 2016 case – and deferred sentencing on the later cases for background reports due to the “complications” brought on by the fact he had been granted a licence by DVLA.

Sheriff McKay also banned him from the road for five years from today.

Cholmeley will appear back 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.

Cholmeley killed Gavin McCabe on Dundee’s Kingsway in March 2009 in an horrific smash.

In the early hours of March 15 2009, after an evening of drinking, Cholmeley took the keys to his girlfriend’s BMW without permission.

Advocate depute Michael Stuart told the High Court in Edinburgh: “Mr Cholmeley then appears to have driven the car across the centre of Dundee at speeds estimated by various witnesses to be between 60mph and 70mph, before joining the Kingsway West.”

He crashed into the side of the taxi being driven by 41-year-old Mr McCabe, who was thrown from the driver’s seat and sustained fatal head injuries.

His passenger Azeez Butali, 33, suffered injuries to his collar-bone, 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.

He was jailed for six years and banned from the road for 10.