Ipswich: Alcoholic jailed after driving while four times the limit

IPSWICH: Reducing a probation officer to tears in court, an alcoholic who was more than four times the drink-drive limit is today behind bars.

Duane Atkin, of Jasmine Close, Ipswich, was jailed for 12 weeks and handed a five-year disqualification at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to driving while over the legal alcohol limit.

His case comes as The Evening Star’s annual Christmas anti drink-drive campaign aims to name and shame drink-drivers caught on Suffolk’s roads.

The court heard police received a complaint Atkin was drinking and driving and when breathalysed he recorded 158 microgrammes of alcohol per 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

Prosecutor Tess Mann told the court 40-year-old Atkin, who was driving a Peugeot, was stopped by officers in Peterhouse Road, Ipswich, on November 25.

Defending Atkin, John Hughes said: “My client was assaulted quite severely about nine years ago. He remembers he was sitting down in a room and the next thing he was in hospital. As a result of that he suffers from a condition which is a brain injury and is also progressive.

“He lives at home with his wife who has stood by him throughout because of the problems he has.

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“He has seen his GP and the guidance he was given was to reduce his alcohol intake by a can of lager a day. He is a man who wants to deal with his alcoholism. He knows he is fortunate to have a wife standing by him.”

Mr Hughes added that Atkin, who works part-time as a cleaner, is coping with his alcoholism but needs help in overcoming or treating it.

In coming to a decision, chair of magistrates Bunty Hunt said: “I have been a magistrate for over 25 years and I have never ever sat on a case like this before when the probation officer was reduced to tears but we accept her advice and that of her colleagues.

“Despite Mr Hughes’ very eloquent defence of your situation, you will go to prison for 12 weeks and we are also going to disqualify you from driving for five years.”

Moved to tears by the affect Atkin’s condition has had on his family, probation officer Miss John added: “When Mr Atkin is released from prison he will be released a sober man for the first time in ten years and it will be up to him what decision to make for his future.”

n Do you think courts should impose tougher sentences for drink-drivers? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or alternatively you can send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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