24th Oct, 2016

Drink driver three times over limit is spared jail

Evesham Editorial 29th Jan, 2015 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

AN EVESHAM drink driver has escaped jail despite travelling two miles in the wrong direction on the A46 while almost three times over the legal limit.

District Judge Nigel Cadbury spared Abigail Walker an immediate prison term when she appeared at Worcester Magistrates’ Court last Friday (January 23).

The 44-year-old, of Boat Lane in Offenham, was instead handed a six-month sentence, suspended for 18 months, after she pleaded guilty to charges of drink driving and dangerous driving.

On January 4 police saw Walker behind the wheel of her black Nissan 370Z about 9.35pm on the wrong side of the dual carriageway before officers found the vehicle in a lay-by facing the oncoming traffic.

The court heard how Walker, who passed ‘two or three’ cars during the incident, had been at a pub in Offenham with a friend and drank beer and shots before getting in the high-powered sports car to drive and get cigarettes.

While the defendant, who said she couldn’t remember the incident, was travelling in the Nissan her passenger repeatedly shouted at her to stop, to which she replied ‘it is alright’, the court was also told.

Police found the pair in the A46 lay-by, identified Walker as the driver and asked her to provide a breath test, which came back as 117 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, the legal limit being 35.

She was taken back to Worcester Police Station where the lowest reading was 91 microgrammes.

Defending solicitor Catherine Junor referred to national cases similar to that of Walker which had resulted in suspended sentences, as mitigation for an immediate custodial sentence.

“This is a very unfortunate and difficult set of circumstances.” she said.

“There is no suggestion she failed to stop, there is no suggestion she failed to report it and there was no accident or injury to anybody.”

Along with the suspended sentence, which included 18 months’ supervision, Walker was told to complete the alcohol work book and disqualified from driving for two years.

District Judge Nigel Cadbury added: “The risk of harm here was very high and it was probably more by luck than anything else that no-one else was injured from what you did.

“You were almost three times over the legal limit and as a result of that don’t remember much of driving the wrong way down a dual carriageway for over two miles.

“If there had been an accident and someone had been killed you would have been looking at a very long prison sentence.”

Walker was also ordered to pay £85 court costs and an £80 victim surcharge.