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Ipswich driver, 60, spared jail after being nearly four times drink-drive limit when crashing

PUBLISHED: 08:40 28 December 2016 | UPDATED: 12:06 29 December 2016

Julian Ditcham with the Drager Alcotest used by Suffolk Constabulary. Pic Archant

Julian Ditcham with the Drager Alcotest used by Suffolk Constabulary. Pic Archant

A 60-year-old who crashed his car while nearly four times the drink-drive limit has been banned from driving for almost three years and given a suspended prison term.

Philip Coote, of Goldcrest Road, Ipswich, pleaded guilty at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court to drink-driving.

Magistrates heard Coote’s offence means he has lost his job at a time when he is heavily in debt.

A breath test showed he had 140 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath when driving a Subaru Forester. The legal limit is 35mcgs.

Prosecutor Colette Harper said police went to a single-vehicle accident in Main Road, Bucklesham, at 6pm on November 30.

A paramedic was at the scene and a male was in the driver’s seat of the Subaru. The keys were in the ignition of the vehicle.

Coote was the only person in the Subaru and the windscreen was smashed. There was also considerable damage to the front wing.

Coote was assisted out of the vehicle and put in an ambulance.

He was asked to take a roadside breath test, but could not blow hard enough to register a reading.

Coote was taken to Ipswich Hospital and initially refused a breath test, the court heard.

However, he then provided one, making a comment about being sorry and being in trouble.

Chris Casey, representing Coote, said his client had been feeling down and his wife suffers from ill health.

Coote was at home on a day off and his debts were troubling him.

The court was told the installer of Virgin Media equipment owed £38,000 in credit card loans.

Mr Casey said: “His job will be gone after today.”

Since his arrest Coote has sought help for his issues with alcohol in a bid to tackle a problem before it worsened.

Mr Casey added: “He is truly sorry. The consequences of what he has done didn’t occur to him.

“He is old school. (He says) I’ve done wrong. I should be punished.”

Magistrates disqualified Coote from driving for 34 months. He was also given an 18-week prison term, suspended for 12 months.

In addition Coote must also pay £115 to the victims’ fund.

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