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Driven To Crime: True stories of wrongdoing in motor racing

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He was remanded in custody until his sentencing and one month later was jailed for a third time, on this occasion for six years. He chose the Goodyear-supported Ferrari Challenge, a club-level British championship that catered for drivers competing in a wide variety of Ferrari models divided into two categories, one for older and often standard road models, the other for much quicker ‘modified’ cars. The elite who recognised it as the ultimate supercar of the time included celebrities such as Elton John, George Harrison and Rowan Atkinson. Indeed, his abiding memory of the team patron was watching him leave the Silverstone paddock as pillion passenger on the back of a motorcycle and disappear into the sunset. Behind the wheel at Silverstone, however, was not Lockie but Chris Goodwin, who coincidentally had raced the very same chassis for its previous owners in the 1997 FIA GT Championship and had been drafted in for this session.

Munroe was jailed for five years after he admitted 17 charges of transfer by deception and three of procuring the execution of a valuable security. An enthusiastic collector of classic cars, he lives in a 16th century manor house in Northamptonshire, conveniently close to Silverstone. Judge Josh Lait was not sympathetic and said when summing up: ‘This was a serious and continued breach of trust carried out over a substantial period, executed by false documentation.

Some of these people are the same kind of pure sociopaths that can steal all the money from an elementary school teacher pension fund, and their only thought is, "how can I do the same thing to the middle school?

For the next round, at Brands Hatch on 20th June, Munroe again took the start for a short stint before handing over to his ‘pro’ co-driver with the car two laps down. Most purchases from business sellers are protected by the Consumer Contract Regulations 2013 which give you the right to cancel the purchase within 14 days after the day you receive the item. As only 106 examples were ever built, its rarity combined with its eye-watering cost ensured that ownership was confined to a very exclusive club. During his short appearance, he ill-advisedly boasted to presenter Quentin Willson that he had once driven his McLaren F1 at 170mph on the M40 motorway.

The aspiring racing driver’s new venture was announced with great fanfare at a lavish press launch held at the exclusive Mezzo restaurant in London’s Soho on 15th January 1999. She posed next to the car dressed in white racing overalls, together with Munroe and Calum Lockie, the team’s professional driver, who was to share driving duties and had been introduced to Munroe by driver coach Les Goble. Now going by the name James Munroe, he fooled himself that he was ready to live the second part of his childhood dream: he was going to become a racing driver.

Serious suspicions escalated when a senior McGraw Hill executive watched television coverage of a British GT Championship race on Channel 4. With it all seeming so easy, the regularity with which he sent phoney invoices to his employers spiralled out of control. This time Munroe took the start, with the team’s strategy resting on the hope that he would hold up most of the field before handing over to Goodwin after a short but steady stint. As the director of accounting he was responsible for the management of the payment system and had detailed knowledge of the payment process.

I hocked myself to the hilt just to, albeit briefly, own a MkII Golf GTi 16v,’ he said, ‘sadly ending its days stolen, ransacked and unlovingly abandoned on bricks on Wentworth golf course. In the case of James Cox (aka James Munroe), his craving for attention suggested that he received his highs not so much from racing one of the fastest and most desirable sportscars ever made but more from the publicity and kudos that went with it.

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