AN elderly resident at a Sunderland nursing home got the shock of her life as a drunk driver smashed into railings, hurtling them into the air and smashing her window in the early hours.
Provisional licence holder Stephen Larcombe had drunk alcohol before stealing his ex-wife’s car on June 30 and going out looking for her, Sunderland magistrates heard.
The 45-year-old caught up with Mrs Larcombe, who was standing outside a workingmen’s club in Silksworth talking to some men as she was preparing to go home.
Prosecutor Janice Bellamy said Larcombe, of Padonhill, Moorside, disapproved and Mrs Larcombe got into the car to stop him making a scene.
“When she noticed her ex-husband had pulled up in her car, she was shocked to see him as he had no permission to drive her car,” Mrs Bellamy said. “He crashed into some railings in Vane Street at 12.55am.
“He hit the boundary fence of Beckwith Mews nursing home with such force that it was propelled five foot into the air and into a window. The window was smashed.”
Larcombe was arrested and immediately admitted that he had been the driver.
He was found to have 55 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath, the legal limit being 35 microgrammes.
In interview, he told officers he had been drinking before he took the car on the road, he only had a provisional licence and also knew he shouldn’t drive without being supervised.
The damage caused to the nursing home came to £985, while Mrs Larcombe’s £690 car was written off.
Larcombe has since given her £200 towards her £600 insurance excess.
He pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle taking, drink driving, and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.
Larcombe, who represented himself in court, said: “I do accept full responsibilty, I know I was in the wrong.
“I am willing to accept my punishment. I can only apologise.
“I did go to the home the following day and I apologised to the manageress and I offered to pay for the damage. I’ve been very stupid. It’s not like me to go out drink driving, I totally disagree with it.”
Larcombe was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 140 hours of unpaid work.
He was banned from driving for one year and told to pay £1,385 compensation, £85 costs and £60 victim surcharge.