Mountain rescuers criticised the man who was today convicted of driving his 4×4 to the summit of Wales’s highest mountain, after he sparked another search during his trial.
Craig Williams of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, was jailed for a total of 22 months at Caernarfon Crown Court after a jury found him guilty of dangerous driving.
Judge Merfyn Hughes sentenced him to six months for the first offence of driving up Snowdon, 10 months for the second offence and he added six months for failing to answer bail.
On the first day of his trial on Wednesday, Williams, 40, sent a note to his defence barrister to say he would not be attending trial as he intended to commit suicide.
This sparked a search by Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team and the North Wales Police helicopter of the mountain.
A spokesperson for the Llanberis team said: “The team was contacted by North Wales Police following the non-appearance of a person charged to appear in Caernarfon Crown Court on Wednesday morning.
“The individual had indicated in a letter to his solicitor that he would not attend the court hearing, intimating that he would be found on the summit of Snowdon.
“A team co-ordinator happened to be out walking near Clogwyn Station on Snowdon, and offered to check out the summit area and cliff lines below.”
The spokesperson said conditions on the 1,085m (3,560ft) summit were freezing, with snow cover including hard-packed areas of ice.
The team spokesperson said: “The team will always respond to a request from the police to investigate a mountain incident.
“On this occasion it was possible to report that nothing of any significance was found near the summit.
“However, the team is a very busy team. It should be noted that it attended to 176 incidents during 2012.
“In fact this callout was instigated because the person involved provided false information to the police. It meant that the team was greatly inconvenienced for a couple of hours on an unnecessary callout, searching a potentially hazardous location.
“The team is made up of volunteers who willingly turn out in all conditions to help people in distress.
“However, it takes a very dim view of individuals who, on purpose, create situations where valuable time and resources are wasted and in particular where life might potentially be endangered.”
Williams denied the charges of dangerous driving though he admitted driving his Vauxhall Frontera up the Llanberis path to within 200m of the summit in September 2011. He claimed on a second occasion later that month when the same vehicle was found parked at the Hafod Eryri summit building, he had not been the driver.
But the jury found him guilty on both counts and the judge sentenced him to serve the jail terms consecutively. He was also banned from driving for three years and ordered to take an extended driving test.