Hit-and-run drink-driver, 82, banned from The Kingfisher pub in Chantry, Ipswich

The Kingfisher, Ipswich

The Kingfisher, Ipswich

An 82-year-old drink-driver involved in a hit-and-run which left a pedestrian seriously injured has been banned from his local pub for three years.

Rodney Barber leaving Ipswich Magistrates Court.

Rodney Barber leaving Ipswich Magistrates Court. - Credit: Archant

Rodney Barber, of Bridgwater Road, Ipswich, was also disqualified from driving for 16 months by Ipswich magistrates after his second drink-drive offence in 19 years.

The injured pedestrian Gary Clemence, 65, sustained a broken hip, a head injury described as a bleed on the brain, a fractured thumb, bruised kidneys and spleen, and ligament damage to his left foot after the collision in Hawthorn Drive.

In addition the court heard Mr Clemence suffered a heart attack while in Ipswich Hospital as a result of his injuries.

Barber pleaded guilty to drink-driving, failing to stop after an accident and careless driving.

Gary and Sandie Clemence on their wedding day

Gary and Sandie Clemence on their wedding day - Credit: Archant

The offences occurred on the night of October 1 as the pensioner was driving the short distance home from The Kingfisher pub.

A blood test taken after Barber’s arrest showed he had 115 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80 mlgs.

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Prosecutor Tess Mann said as Barber was approaching the turn to Gannet Road he failed to take the appropriate action to avoid Mr Clemence.

Mrs Mann told magistrates: “Fortunately Mr Clemence survived. However he had dreadful injuries.

“The defendant did not stop and carried on driving and went to his home address.

“This is where officers found him.”

Barber was previously convicted of drink-driving in 1997.

Mr Clemence’s wife, daughter and granddaughter were seated at the back of the court.

Mrs Mann said: “It’s distressing for them. They often hear reports of the defendant at that pub. I would ask for the very, very unusual step of including in your sentencing an exclusion from the licensed premises which was The Kingfisher pub in Hawthorn Drive.”

Neil Saunders, mitigating, said Barber was in poor health and suffered from a number of illnesses.

Mr Saunders added: “He had been to the pub and had a few drinks. He must be a regular there.

“He has told me he panicked. He went round the block, came back, saw the gentleman was being attended to and felt he would not wish to intrude on that scene.

“He has no longer got the motor car. He’s given that away and will not be driving again.”

In addition to his driving disqualification and his pub ban Barber was fined at total of £533 and given a 36-month community order.

He must also pay £85 costs and £85 to the victims’ fund.

Mr Clemence’s wife Sandie said although her husband is recovering he is still virtually confined to bed by the injuries Barber’s car inflicted.

The 68-year-old, of Bramhall Close, Ipswich, who has been married to Mr Clemence for 14 years, said: “I needed to hear him (Barber) say ‘Guilty’.

“I wanted justice for my husband.

“I think the magistrates’ sentencing has shown how serious his offence was.

“I feel he should have known better than to have got in his car and driven that night.

“In my mind I have always felt he left Gary for dead. I think he is a very arrogant man to think he could drink and drive.

“My husband’s life is on hold. He is still unable to go out and can only come downstairs for tiny periods.

“Gary is a gentle, lovely man and much loved by all. At 65 he is still a young man. He was fit and healthy.

“At the moment it is a struggle and it’s very hard. It is difficult for myself, my family, and friends.

“Gary has got a long way to go before hopefully he makes a full recovery, which we all hope for.”