Drink driver spared jail

A DRINK-DRIVER more than three times over the limit with no licence, MOT or insurance who drove off after an accident has been spared jail.Martin Sleigtholme, 35, of Bramford Lane, Ipswich, admitted failing to stop after an accident, failing to stop when directed by an officer and failing to provide a specimen at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court.

A DRINK-DRIVER more than three times over the limit with no licence, MOT or insurance who drove off after an accident has been spared jail.

Martin Sleigtholme, 35, of Bramford Lane, Ipswich, admitted failing to stop after an accident, failing to stop when directed by an officer and failing to provide a specimen at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court.

He also admitted driving with excess alcohol in his body with only a provisional licence, no tax, MOT or insurance and was banned from driving for 36 months.

However this ban will be shortened to 27 months if Sleigtholme attended a drink drivers rehabilitation course. He was also ordered to pay costs of £55.

The court heard how father-of-three Sleigtholme reversed into another car at traffic lights on Bramford Road, Ipswich, around 10.30pm on June 24.

He failed to stop after the accident and later ignored the police when they tried to pull him over.

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Sleigtholme was seen to be driving erratically as he approached the lights by the driver of the car behind him.

After the accident Sleigtholme stopped but when the other driver asked him to wait for the police Sleigtholme drove off.

Adele Cook, prosecuting, told the court that the driver saw Sleigtholme drink from a can and a police search later found empty cans of alcohol in the car.

The police pulled him over in Henniker Road, Ipswich, and a test revealed he had 119 micrograms in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 micrograms in 100 millilitres.

When officers asked him for the sample Sleigtholme took a puff on a cigarette each time then blow smoke into an officers face before giving in.

Neil Saunders, mitigating, said: "Sleigtholme has a drink problem its his wish to have this addressed, Unfortunately he finds the evening in question all a bit of a haze as 16 pints is quite a lot. He has no memory of the accident."

Deputy district judge Karen Hammond listened to Mr Saunders mitigation in which he told how Sleigtholme was now employed, had not been in trouble since leaving prison in 1998.

Mr Saunders also told how his failed relationship may have been in some way at the bottom of this offending behaviour and re-emphasised his early guilty plea.

On sentencing Miss Hammond said: "I am just persuaded to impose a community rehabilitation order. You will have to attend a drunken driver's rehabilitation course.

"For this appalling crime of driving with excess alcohol the court was considering custody. Be in no doubt how close you were in going to prison today."

The rehabilitation course will last for two years.

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