A wealthy UK businessman on trial over a car crash was blasted as "arrogant" by a judge for arriving at court two hours late in his McLaren supercar.

Martin Skinner, who was high on cocaine when he smashed his Porsche into a tree and left his passenger with serious brain injuries, said he failed to turn up because his alarm clock didn't go off.

But this did not wash with the judge, who accused him of arrogance and refused to give him any credit for pleading guilty.

Skinner, a property developer in Mayfair, crashed at such speed that the engine flew out of the $268,000 Porsche 911 GT3.


The 40-year-old was convicted of careless driving and failing to provide a specimen to police.

He was jailed for 22 months and banned from driving until May 2022. Skinner, who lives in exclusive Belgravia, central London, lost control of the Porsche on the A281 near Rudgwick, West Sussex.

In the incident, on August 24 last year, his 30-year-old female passenger received "life-changing" injuries. Skinner was showing off to the woman before the smash, Worthing magistrates' court in West Sussex heard.

Police found that on the morning of the crash, he tried to set up a supercar trip to France, but his friends turned down the idea. Instead, he decided to "go rallying" to a business contact's home in Rudgwick. That evening, he persuaded his passenger to come for a drive in his 190mph Porsche.

She told the court that he drove so quickly everything was a blur, so she asked him to slow down because of the winding road.But he ignored her and sped round a bend at such speed that he lost control and crashed. She was flown to King's College Hospital in London and spent a week in a coma. Thirteen months later, she is still recovering from her injuries.

Skinner was high on cocaine at the time of the crash leaving his passenger in hospital with brain injuries. Photo / Supplied
Skinner was high on cocaine at the time of the crash leaving his passenger in hospital with brain injuries. Photo / Supplied

Skinner tested positive for cocaine at the scene. But after being taken to Guildford Hospital he refused to give a legally admissible sample to measure the drug in his blood.

Initially, he pleaded not guilty, blaming the road surface for the crash - even though there had only been two crashes on that stretch in ten years - and claiming he was not in a fit state to give a sample to police while in hospital. However, following legal advice he changed his plea to guilty.

Tony Crisp, the investigating officer for Sussex Police, said: "Skinner had clearly set out to drive around the countryside in a high-powered car at high speed and under the influence of cocaine, resulting in a crash that caused the victim in this case to sustain a life-changing injury.


"Cocaine is a class-A drug and can have the effect of impairing a person's ability to drive safely. He sought to prevent police taking a blood sample to establish how much cocaine he had in his system and until the last moment refused to accept responsibility for his actions."