Ipswich/ Hadleigh: Nurse caught drink-driving after downing brandy following night shift at Ipswich Hospital

IPSWICH/HADLEIGH: A senior staff nurse at Ipswich Hospital has avoided prison after being caught behind the wheel while FOUR times the legal drink-drive limit.

The presiding judge said Kerrie Dilloway’s breathalyser reading was one of the highest he had ever encountered.

The mother-of-two, from Station Yard in Hadleigh, was given a suspended prison sentence at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court after she admitted drink-driving.

The court in Elm Street heard Dilloway recorded 165 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.

District Judge David Cooper condemned Dilloway’s behaviour as “hideously irresponsible”, adding: “It is one of the highest readings I have ever come across.”

The 45-year-old had finished working a night shift at the Heath Road hospital on Saturday, February 5 and had suffered from “chronic tooth pain” for about 36 hours before her arrest.

In a bid to numb the pain, Dilloway, who has been a nurse for 15 years, took pain killers including paracetamol, ibuprofen and codeine as well as her medication.

Most Read

Her solicitor John Hughes told the court: “She then takes a drink of brandy and contacts an emergency dentist and gets an appointment.

“She accepts she then continues to drink the brandy to ease her pain.”

At about 10.05am as Dilloway drove to her dentist appointment a member of the public contacted police after spotting her black Saab hitting the kerbs on the A1071, Hintlesham to Ipswich road.

The court heard Dilloway has mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, for which she takes strong medication.

Mr Hughes told the court there were concerns about the reading taken by police officers.

He said for the ten hours the nurse was in police custody the reading did not fall and he suggested her medication could have caused difficulties with absorbing the alcohol.

Judge Cooper acknowledged Dilloway had no previous convictions and praised her “extremely useful job in the community”.

He sentenced her to 16 weeks in prison which he suspended for a year with the requirement that she meets regularly with probation officers.

She was banned from driving for 36 months and ordered to pay costs of �85.

Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital, said the case would be looked into.

She said: “In all instances like this we would look to make sure the codes of conduct expected by both the trust and nationally are being met.”

She said if any breach of the codes of conduct were found, Dilloway’s case would be referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Dilloway declined to comment outside court.

n Is the sentence fair? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or alternatively you can send an e-mail to eveningstar letters@eveningstar.co.uk