Cleadon dad facing Christmas in jail after third drink-driving conviction

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A DAD faces Christmas in prison after being caught drink-driving for the third time in seven years.

Andrew Cornell, pictured, of Elmsleigh Gardens, Cleadon, was arrested on Sunday after driving home from an afternoon drinking session.

Andrew Cornell, drink driver

Andrew Cornell, drink driver

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard how the 27-year-old had drunk six pints before being spotted getting in his car by a member of the public.

The witness called police, who followed Cornell and arrested him.

CCTV footage showed him driving through a no entry sign in Broughton Road, South Shields, before narrowly avoiding another car.

A breath test showed he was three-and-a-half-times over the legal limit.

Cornell was jailed for 18 weeks and banned for four years after admitting drink driving.

The court heard the dad-of-one had been convicted of drink-driving in 2004 and 2007, when he was given a suspended sentence.

Jailing Cornell, chairman of the bench Terry Barclay said: “This is such a serious offence, and the third time in seven years you have been in court for drink driving.

“And the reading this time was very high.

“You are sentenced to 24 weeks in custody, which will be reduced to 18 for your guilty plea.”

Ian Simpson, prosecuting, said: “At 5.40pm on Sunday, there was a 999 call made to say a man was staggering towards his car at the Mill Dam.

“CCTV cameras followed his car along Anderson Street, Broughton Road, Bents Park Road and finally to North Main Court, where he parked.

“Officers knocked on the house opposite where his girlfriend lived.

“She said he was drunk and had gone to bed. They found him hiding under a quilt and arrested him.

“A breath test showed he had 125 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 mililitres of breath, the legal limit being 35 milligrammes.”

Laura Johnson, defending, said: “He went out on Saturday night and again on Sunday afternoon, he said he had six pints and essentially topped himself up.

“When he left the pub, it was cold and windy and he made a grave error of judgment, a stupid mistake, and got in his car.”

Mrs Johnson said Cornell had been having trouble sleeping since his two-year-old daughter was born, and had been working shifts at a factory.

She added: “He has a number of problems and has started drinking to try and deal with them.

“He also lost his position in the Merchant Navy two years ago.”

South Tyneside Chief Inspector Brian Walker said: “This sentence shows that any form of driving under the influence is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

“If you continue to commit theses sorts of offences, the consequences will become more severe.”

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