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Felixstowe: I’m sorry for the trouble I have caused, says drink driver

PUBLISHED: 17:30 15 January 2013 | UPDATED: 17:30 15 January 2013

Bernard Middleton

Bernard Middleton

Archant

A DRINK-DRIVER who was caught on the A14 at nearly four times the legal alcohol limit says he deserved to be punished.

The law must be tougher - Beccy Rutter

IN the early hours of February 21, 2009 Beccy Rutter’s life changed forever.

She was seriously injured when Scott Nicholls, who was found over the drink-drive limit and with drugs in his system, ploughed into her, her sister Emma Harold and their friend Kate Wasyluk as the trio walked home from a night out.

Emma and Kate were killed at the scene, close to St Clements Hospital in Foxhall Road and Beccy suffered life-changing injuries.

Beccy, 29, told The Star a suspended sentence and three-year driving ban is no deterrent to people getting in their cars having drunk more than the legal limit.

“Four times the limit is a huge amount,” she said.

“The legal limit it too high, I would like to see the law changed and no alcohol be tolerated in drivers’ systems.

“No one really knows their tolerance levels and if you got five drivers together in a room and asked them what the legal limit meant they could drink safely, I doubt any of them would get it right.”

Reflecting on Middleton’s sentence, Beccy said unless somebody drives for a living being banned from the roads “is no punishment at all”.

“The courts must be tougher on drink drivers,” she added.

“Otherwise people will never learn their lessons and it won’t act as a deterrent to other motorists.

“Suspended sentences are no punishment to otherwise law-abiding citizens. The law needs to change.

“Drink driving is a serious crime and it can have very serious consequences, ultimately you could take another life.”

Bernard Middleton, of Park Lane in Kirton, was spared jail for the offence, which happened last month, but was disqualified from driving for three years.

Magistrates at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court in Ipswich also gave the 57-year-old a 12-week prison term, suspended for 12 months.

Following the sentencing, Beccy Rutter, who survived a horror crash caused by a drink driver, which killed her sister Emma Harold and friend Kate Wasyluk, said the law should not tolerate ANY alcohol in breath or blood.

The 29-year-old, who suffered life-changing injuries in the Foxhall Road crash in the early hours of February 21, 2009, said punishments for drink-drivers are not tough enough.

Middleton was caught when police spotted him driving his blue Kia Ceed on the Ipswich-bound A14 at Trimley on December 9.

The court heard a breath test showed he had 130 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mgs.

Speaking to the Star after the case, a contrite Middleton admitted the disqualification will cause him problems, but he accepted it was deserved.

He added: “I would like to apologise for the trouble that this has caused.

“I won’t be able to see my daughter and my son (who live outside Suffolk) but that is what I deserve. I drunk and drove so I have to take the punishment.

“I’m sorry I did it.”

Middleton pleaded guilty to drink-driving during his first appearance at magistrates court on December 31. In mitigation his solicitor, Michael Stephenson, said: “He [Middleton] said to police that he was drunk and an idiot.

“I don’t think anyone would disagree with that.”

The case was adjourned then for a pre-sentence report to be compiled.

In addition to his suspended prison term and driving ban, Middleton was ordered to pay £80 to the victims’ fund and £85 costs.

He must also abide by a 12-month supervision requirement and participate in an alcohol specified activity requirement for ten days.

Another drink-driver from the Felixstowe area has also been banned from the road.

Docker Michael Slark was disqualified for 12 months and fined £700 after admitting driving with excess alcohol.

He must also pay £70 to the victims’ fund and £85 costs.

Slark, of Bath Road, Felixstowe, was caught driving in the town at 1.10am on December 23.

Police saw his Y-reg Volkswagen Bora driving at speed along Undercliff Road West. Officers followed him along Convalescent Hill, before he was finally stopped in Cambridge Road.

Magistrates heard a test showed Slark had 52 mcgs of alcohol in 100 mls of breath.

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