Ipswich drink-driver caught at more than four times limit is jailed

Matthew Handebeaux jailed for 18 weeks

Drink-driver Matthew Handebeaux has been jailed for 18 weeks - Credit: Suffolk police

An Ipswich drink-driver who was nearly four and a half times the legal alcohol limit when caught behind the wheel has been jailed. 

Matthew Handebeaux, 61, was seen by an off-duty police officer driving on the A14 southbound, heading towards Felixstowe, around 11pm on July 1 this year, magistrates in Ipswich heard. 

The officer noticed that the Vauxhall Vectra car, being driven by Handebeaux, appeared to brake sharply several times for no apparent reason. 

The car also crossed the central white line on the carriageway on a number of occasions, and the off-duty officer then contacted the control room, Lesla Small, prosecuting, told the court. 

Handebeaux, of Recreation Way, Ipswich, made a sudden turn off the A14 into Trinity Avenue, Felixstowe and was stopped by uniformed police. 

He failed a roadside breath test and was arrested, Ms Small said. 

At the police station, Handebeaux blew 151 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg in 100ml of breath. 

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Police also discovered that Handebeaux's licence had been revoked and he did not have insurance. 

The court heard that Handebeaux had a previous drink-driving conviction from 2015, when he blew 146mcg in 100ml of breath. 

Mark Thompson, mitigating, said Handebeaux - who works in the construction trade - had been experiencing family problems and had found life difficult in lockdown. 

Mr Thompson said Handebeaux had been drinking heavily at home on the night in question and decided to drive to the beach to clear his head. 

"He does not describe himself as an alcoholic. He does not drink on a daily basis," Mr Thompson said. 

Appearing at Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Friday, Handebeaux pleaded guilty to drink driving, driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence, and driving without insurance. 

Magistrates said Handebeaux had not "learned his lesson" following his previous conviction and felt the offence crossed the custody threshold. 

Handebeaux was jailed for 18 weeks and banned from driving for five years. 

He was also ordered to pay costs of £105 and a victim surcharge of £128. 

Handebeaux will have to serve half of his sentence in custody before he is released on licence. 

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