Ipswich Christmas Eve drink-driver, 71, caught for second time

Drink-driver in court

Drink-driver in court - Credit: PA

A 71-year-old Christmas Eve drink-driver has lost his licence after being driving while drunk for a second time.

Michael Chapman, of Belmont, Road, Ipswich, pleaded guilty at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court to being nearly three times the drink-drive limit.

Chapman had originally denied the offence and was due to stand trial on March 10.

However, on February 24 he sent a letter notifying the authorities of his change of plea to guilty.

Prosecutor Colette Harper said Chapman was caught at around 9.10pm on Christmas Eve after he was seen driving a Mercedes C180 in Hawthorn Drive after information was received by police.

It was followed and the vehicle was seen driving erratically over the centre of the white lines in the middle of the road.

The vehicle came to a stop outside Chapman’s home.

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When a police officer spoke to him they could smell alcohol on his breath.

A subsequent test showed he had 91 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mcgs.

The court heard Chapman had previous been convicted of drink-driving on July 9, 2012.

Chapman, representing himself, said: “It was a stupid thing to do.”

The cleaning manager explained he had believed the drink, which he consumed while at home, was low-alcohol wine.

He added: “I bitterly regret what happened and apologise.

Magistrates disqualified Chapman from driving for three years and gave him a 12-month community order with a 60-hour unpaid work requirement.

Chapman must also pay £200 costs and £60 to the victims’ fund.