A MAN who led police on a 100mph chase with a one-year-old baby in the front seat has been jailed for two and a half years.

Not only had Mark Hilden never passed his driving test, he was three-and-a-half times the drug drive limit as he attempted to evade the authorities on the M27 on a wet winter’s evening.

Reaching speeds of more than 100mph, Hilden, who had nine previous convictions for disqualified driving, crashed his white Citroen Berlingo van into a police car and another motorist as he left the motorway via the slip-road at Junction 2.

As Judge Nicholas Rowland sentenced Hilden at Southampton Crown Court, the 24-year-old wailed uncontrollably until cell staff took him away.

The court heard that officers had suspected Hilden was a disqualified driver after spotting him driving along the M27, Westbound, towards Junction 3.

Prosecutor Andrew Houston said despite officers illuminating their vehicle’s lights and placing its sirens on, Hilden sped off.

The chase lasted around five miles and a second police car joined the pursuit, itself reaching speeds of 118mph to catch up with the white van.

Mr Houston said: “The officers’ car skidded at a 90 degree angle as it was struck by Hilden.

“A woman came out of the car holding a baby and Hilden laid on the floor.

“A member of the public said they were appalled that a child had been put at such a risk and without a car seat for the child.

“Hilden was screaming in pain and accusing the woman of driving the car.”

As a result of the crash one officer sustained a slight injury to his back, the other motorist an injury to his neck and Hilden a cut to his hand.

Significant damage was caused to all three vehicles.

Inside Hilden’s vehicle there was no car seat for the baby, so the youngster was being carried for the duration of the police chase.

While at hospital, Hilden was given a drug test which found he was three-and-a-half times the legal driving limit for cannabis.

The court heard that Hilden was serving a suspended sentence for disqualified driving and when he appeared at Southampton Magistrates’ Court charged after this offence on January 18, he was put in prison for four weeks.

During that time, Gemma White, mitigating, said Hilden had “learned lessons” about his previous offending.

She added: “This was a momentary lapse of stupidity.

“While he was in prison he had a short, sharp shock of what custody serves.

“He is terrified of the prospect of going back to prison.”

Despite Ms White’s pleas for the court to give Hilden a suspended sentence, Judge Rowland said the child could have been “seriously injured or worse” and that because of the defendant’s “terrible driving record” custody was inevitable.

Hilden, of Scallows Lane, Romsey, pleaded guilty to child neglect, driving over the prescribed limit of drugs, failing to stop for police, dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified and without insurance.

As well as his term of imprisonment, for which he will serve half, Hilden was banned from the roads for six years and three months.