Drinker driver banned for three years

A SUFFOLK motorist who was three times over the drink drive limit has narrowly avoided jail.Darren Barton, of All Saints Road, Creeting St Mary, was banned from driving for three years after he pleaded guilty at South East Magistrates' Court on Tuesday to driving over the limit and having no insurance.

A SUFFOLK motorist who was three times over the drink drive limit has narrowly avoided jail.

Darren Barton, of All Saints Road, Creeting St Mary, was banned from driving for three years after he pleaded guilty at South East Magistrates' Court on Tuesday to driving over the limit and having no insurance.

The court heard how Barton, 25, was stopped by police after driving erratically at 70mph along Norwich Road near the junction of White House Road at 10.45pm on July 4.

He was found to have 110mgs in 100ml of breath, more than three times the legal limit.

Prosecutor Gareth Davies said Barton, a window fitter, remained at traffic lights when they turned green and then suddenly accelerated at speed, nearly running into the car in front.

Mr Davies said: “Police stopped the vehicle and he [Barton] was saying 'my life is over'.

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“He said that his girlfriend had had relations with a number of his friends. He said his life was messed up.

“He was arrested and taken to the police station, where he was still emotional.”

Mitigating, Neil Saunders, claimed that Barton has been drinking since the age of 18 and currently has lots of difficulties in his life, including debt.

He said: “You can be physically fit but emotionally vulnerable. With the emotional stress of losing his girlfriend in perceived unsavoury circumstances and the difficulties he had with a break-in to his van earlier that morning, he must have thought life was against him.

“Fit though he may be, he might find he is not as internally fit as he likes to think.”

Chair of the bench, Judith Palmer, said: “We are not going to send you to prison.

“We are going to ban you from driving for three years. We know that will be an inconvenience to everyone concerned but that is the minimum we can give you.”

Magistrates also gave him a supervision order with a requirement to attend the offender substance abuse programme for 12 months and ordered him to pay costs of £55.

How do you think drink drivers should be punished? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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