Drink drivers banned from the roads

TWO more drivers are named and shamed today after being found drunk at the wheel of their cars.Disgraced Christopher Shepherd from Shotley was left wheelchair-bound after a crash two years ago.

By Jessica Nicholls

TWO more drivers are named and shamed today after being found drunk at the wheel of their cars.

Disgraced Christopher Shepherd from Shotley was left wheelchair-bound after a crash two years ago.

Today he is banned from driving for 18 months after being caught drink driving.

Shepherd who lives in an isolated part of Shotley was found almost twice over the legal limit when stopped by police.

The 22-year-old who lives in Old Hall Road, was arrested when officers smelt alcohol on his breath.

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Shepherd was breath tested and had 62mcg of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – 35mcg is the legal limit.

Because of his disqualification Shepherd now has very few means of transport out of the village.

He told South East Suffolk Magistrates Court that he will now have difficulty in carrying out the computer programming college course he had been organising.

When he was arrested police also found a small lump of cannabis in his car which he said he used to ease the pain in his legs following an horrific accident two years ago. He pleaded guilty to the charge of possessing controlled drugs.

Shepherd had been riding his Honda 400cc motorcycle along the B1456 in June 2000 when he was involved in a collision with a tanker. He spent six months in Stanmore Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Middlesex after being left with a fractured spine as a result of the crash.

Shepherd who was not represented by a solicitor in court hearing told magistrates he had regretted what he had done.

He said: "I really didn't think I was that over the limit that day, what more can I say? I was in the wrong and I am really sorry for what I did."

"I am wanting to get back into computer programming but because I live so far out of the town in Shotley, it will be hard for me to get in and out. I can't get on and off buses and taxis are about £12 each time."

Shepherd, who pleaded guilty to drink driving at an earlier hearing, was disqualified for 18 months and fined £100 for driving with excess alcohol. He was also fined £20 for the possession of drugs and ordered to pay £55 court costs.

Another charge against Shepherd of failing to stop at the scene of an accident was dismissed.

Meanwhile deciding not to drink and drive and sleep the booze off in his car Brian Willis being slapped with a £300 fine.

Willis of Woodville Road, Ipswich, found himself without a place to stay after an eight hour drinking session and decided it would be safer to spend the night in his car instead.

But an Ipswich court found the 32-year-old to be guilty of being in charge of a motor vehicle with the amount of alcohol in his breath at more than three times the legal limit.

South East Suffolk Magistrates heard how police officers found Willis sleeping in his Honda Accord in the car park of the Thomas Eldred pub at around midnight on the evening of August 5.

After much discussion, magistrates decided that the car park was a public place because there was no barriers or gates to stop others gaining access after the pub had closed.

The police officers had woken Willis when they opened the car door and quickly noticed he was drunk because of his slurred speech.

Willis was said to be sitting on the keys to the car in the driver's seat and smelled strongly of alcohol.

When breathalysed at Ipswich police station, Willis was found to have 118 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit is 35.

Willis, who pleaded not guilty to the charge, told the court that he had arrived at the Cedarcroft Road pub at around 2.45pm on the Sunday afternoon and left at about 10.30pm to visit his estranged wife.

He said: "An argument broke out and after that I returned to the pub where I have stayed on a number of occasions overnight.

"It was obvious that it was too late to knock on the door to ask to stay overnight and I then decided to sleep in the car.

"I set my alarm for the morning and once I had woken up, if I felt in no fit state to drive I would not have done so."

Willis had set his mobile phone for 6.30am to wake him up so he could be at his job at the Port of Felixstowe by 7.30am.

He told the court that he would have called in sick to work if he had not been fit to drive.

Defending solicitor John Hughes told magistrates that Willis had no intention of driving the car.

Mr Hughes said: "He would have needed at least ten hours sleep to sleep off the alcohol.

"He would clearly have been over the limit if he had woken at 6.30am and he had no intention of driving that motor vehicle and would not have done so."

But just one month after the incident, in September, Willis was banned from driving for 12 months after being found guilty of drink driving at a separate time. He was also fined £300.

Despite Mr Hughes' argument that there was no evidence from the prosecution that Willis ever intended to drive the car, magistrates found him guilty on the grounds that the defence could not show that he would not have driven.

Magistrates felt that setting his alarm for 6.30am showed a serious intention to drive the following morning.

Willis was given a £320 fine and his licence was endorsed with ten penalty points.

He was also ordered to pay £275 costs.