Grieving Ambulance control worker downed bottle of vodka before driving home

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AN ambulance control operator who downed almost a bottle of vodka before driving home after work has failed to convince top judges he should have been spared jail.

Jason Blenkiron, 42, had suffered a double bereavement and was in the throes of “some sort of breakdown,” when he bought and drank the neat spirit straight after finishing a shift on July 6, this year.

He then drove his car three miles home, swerving from side to side so severely that he was hitting kerbs on both sides of the road as well as mounting the pavement.

Blenkiron, of Grange Court, Chester-le-Street, County Durham, was found to be more than three times over the drink-drive limit when breathalysed by police.

He was jailed for six months at Newcastle Crown Court on August 24, after pleading guilty to driving with excess alcohol and dangerous driving.

This week, his lawyers asked Lord Justice Pitchford, Mr Justice Bean and Mr Justice Underhill, sitting at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, to suspend that sentence as “an act of mercy to a previously law-abiding man.”

The legal team called him a man in middle age who had never troubled the police or the courts before, adding that he had “hung his head in shame” when in court for what he had done and pleaded guilty as soon as he could.

But Mr Justice Bean, delivering the judgement of the court, said that despite the mitigating circumstances and the public service he provided in his job, Blenkiron was rightly put behind bars.

“The risk to the public caused by this appellant’s reckless acts was such that the judge was entitled to find that he must serve a short sentence of imprisonment.

“We are unable to conclude that he was wrong in principle or that the sentence he imposed was manifestly excessive,” the judge concluded.

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