Former Army sergeant found drunk in car

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A FORMER Army sergeant was nearly three times the legal drink drive limit when she was found slumped at the wheel of her car.

A worried passerby flagged down police after seeing Adele Hearne passed out at the wheel of her Renault Megane, which was parked in a Sunderland street.

Officers managed to rouse the 40-year-old, who gave a breath test reading of 103 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

The legal limit is 35.

Hearne, whose military career saw her save lives in the Army’s medical corps, pleaded guilty to being drunk in charge of a vehicle at the city’s magistrates’ court.

Stan Sudworth, prosecuting, said it was about 3.20pm on June 26 when police discovered Hearn, of Halifax Place, Ryhope, in the black car. He said: “The engine was switched off and the keys were in the ignition. When officers spoke to her, she responded.

“She admitted later she had drank three cans of lager.”

Defending, James Palmer said Hearne, who was previously of good character, was “very ashamed” of what she had done.

“She had a very heated argument with her ex-husband that particular day,” he said.

“Things got out of hand, so she left the house and went for a drive, after having drank some alcohol, unfortunately.

“From 1993 to 2007, Mrs Hearne served in the British Army. She was the rank of sergeant, with an exemplary record, serving in Bosnia, the Iraq war and was with the medical unit, saving lives.

“She got married in 2002, but that unfortunately fell apart in 2008.

“They have a daughter together and the discussion that led to this incident had been very heated and an upsetting incident for Mrs Hearne.

“She is very ashamed and can’t believe she got into a vehicle after she had had a drink.”

Mr Palmer added that she had now sought help from her doctor for anxiety.

Chairman of the bench Linda Scanlan said: “I’m sure that you won’t be here again and I’m sure that you feel very uncomfortable here today.” Hearne’s driving licence was endorsed with 10 penalty points and she was ordered to pay a £300 fine, £85 court costs and a £30 victim surcharge.