A SOLICITOR’S stepdaughter who lied to police after her wanted boyfriend was involved in a high-speed chase in her van has avoided jail.

Katy Turnbull, 34, claimed the Transit had been stolen from close to her home and even made a £20,000 insurance claim.

But when it was involved in a crash days later, police looked at the driver’s phone and found he had called her in the minutes after the pursuit and she came clean.

But after hearing her daughter has a rare illness Judge Robert Pawson suspended the sentence and imposed unpaid work and a curfew at her stepdad’s country mansion.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court police in Cheshire wanted to speak to the van’s driver about a road-rage attack ‘with racist overtones’.

It was stopped near Manchester in the early hours of October 8 and the driver said he was going to Swindon to see his girlfriend Katy, who owned the vehicle.

Having told officers he was Thomas O’Connor and showing a utility bill he raced away, driving at such high speed that officers had to call off the chase.

Later that morning Turnbull called the police to report the van stolen from close to where she was then living, on the edge of Wroughton.

She also informed her insurance company and gave them the same story before going to the police station the next day to make a full statement.

But officers were suspicious because of what the driver had said at the scene and it was intensified when the van was involved in a crash in the north west 12 days later.

When their phones were examined it was discovered that within minutes of the chase ending it O’Connor called 17 times and texted her 10 times in 40 minutes. And before she was arrested on November 1 she even met up with O’Connor though she insists she never saw the vehicle.

When she was questioned she immediately accepted that she had lied to the police having been in a relationship with O’Connor since June last year. She said he was a formidable character and could be persuasive but reassuring, though he had not actually threatened her.

Turnbull formerly of Wanshott Close, Wroughton, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and fraud.

Rob Ross, defending, said his client had met O’Connor following the breakdown of her marriage.

He said she also had issues in her past, had been unwell needing a hysterectomy, and was on the rebound when she met O’Connor, who was given two years for his offending..

Her eight-year-old daughter had a congenital genetic condition which would lead to her being wheelchair-bound.

Passing sentence the judge said: “You have done something incredibly foolish Mrs Turnbull and you have only got yourself to blame.”

He imposed an eight-month jail term suspended for two years with 200 hours of unpaid work.