Drink driving mum in court

A BINGE drinking mum-of-eight overturned a car with three of her children in it, while more than three times the drink drive limit.Although spared jail, unlicensed driver Elizabeth Smith is banned from the road for two-and-a-half years today, following the early morning A14 crash.

A BINGE drinking mum-of-eight overturned a car with three of her children in it, while more than three times the drink drive limit.

Although spared jail, unlicensed driver Elizabeth Smith is banned from the road for two-and-a-half years today, following the early morning A14 crash.

After the smash, which left her Renault Megane on its side, the 36-year-old, of Windgap Lane, Haughley, tried to flee with her children but was eventually found by a police helicopter.

Bury St Edmunds magistrates' court heard Smith had pleaded guilty to drink driving, having no insurance and driving without a licence at a hearing last month.


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At her sentencing, prosecutor Jane Foster said the crash occurred at 12.45am on November 13 last year as Smith was travelling on the Stowmarket-bound carriageway of the A14.

Mrs Foster said a lorry driver noticed Smith's car as he was driving from Ipswich. After going past the Claydon turn off he saw the vehicle on its side. The lorry driver and other motorists stopped to help. Smith and three of her children, aged 18, 16 and 13, were at the scene. The court heard the trucker believed Smith was drunk and went back to his lorry to ring the police. He then saw her make off with the teenagers across a field.

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A police search ended with a helicopter spotting the quartet in a nearby field. When they were stopped, Smith told officers a man had been driving the car and had left the scene. However shortly afterwards she admitted to police she had been driving.

Mrs Foster said breath tests showed Smith had 111microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 mcgs.

Tanya Thomas, mitigating for Smith - who hobbled into court and grimaced as she sat down to face the magistrates - said her client chipped a vertebrae in the crash and had to attend an earlier hearing in a wheelchair.

She added Smith, whose eight children are aged between three and 18, had abused alcohol on the day of the accident. Ms Thomas said: "Clearly her judgement was severely affected by the amount of alcohol she had consumed. She clearly accepts it was abuse of alcohol on a fairly large scale that led to this offence."

Magistrates were told Smith is a binge drinker and has an alcohol misuse problem. It was also said she had been treated for depression and is unable to work because of it. Smith is now seeking professional help for her alcohol dependency.

Sentencing her, chairman of the bench Diane Allum said: "We considered very seriously sending you to prison. However because of the number of children you have at home we are going to give you a community punishment and rehabilitation order for 18 months."

In addition Smith was disqualified from driving for 30 months and ordered to pay costs of £43. She was given an endorsement for driving without a licence and a £250 fine for driving without insurance.

Do you think the drink driving laws are tough enough? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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