Former bricklayer caught driving at four times the limit after drinking gin and beer tells court he no longer intends to drive
A former bricklayer sank beer and gin – and then drove at almost four times the limit, a court has heard.
And Neil Wood, 62, of Westbourne Cottages, Shiney Row, did so for no better reason than to pick up a parcel.
Wood hit the bottle on Wednesday, May 19, after learning of a pal’s death, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard.
On a toxic cocktail of booze and grief, he decided to jump into his Saab motor.
But he was found parked up soon after in Newstead Road, Houghton-le-Spring, by concerned police who relieved him of his keys.
A breath test revealed 145mcgs of alcohol in 100mls of breath. The legal limit is 35mcgs.
Wood, who has a sole previous conviction, pleaded guilty to the drink-drive charge – and was handed a suspended prison term at South Tyneside Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
District Judge Kathryn Meek acknowledged it was a “one off incident” and Wood had been out of trouble for many years.
But she added: “The reading is so high that it has to be a custodial sentence.”
She jailed him for 12 weeks, suspended for a year – and banned him from driving for 30 months.
Defence solicitor Charlie Carr told the hearing: “It’s an odd one.
“It’s a gentleman who appears to have got himself in all sorts of trouble with possible erroneous consequences.
“The root of the problem seems to have been an emotional problem where a long-term friend has died.
“Rather foolishly, he started drinking lager and gin – and he took himself off to collect a parcel.
“It’s beyond me why he did that but that’s what he did. I think you can deal with this as an isolated incident.”
The court heard Wood, who worked as a bricklayer until last year, now suffers depression, and has prostate cancer.
He told the court he did not want to be offered a place on a drink-driver rehabilitation course, which reduces a disqualification by a quarter, because he no longer intends to drive.
Judge Meek also fined him £200, and he must pay a £228 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.