Grieving Sunderland man caught drinking-driving after being assaulted on day of his grandmother's funeral

A family funeral and being assaulted by his brother led to a Wearside man drink driving, a court has heard.

Friday, 1st November 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 9:13 am
South Tyneside Magistrates Court

Stephen Michael Joyce, 25, of Grindon Lane, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol when he appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

Rachel Glover, prosecuting, said police were called to the city’s Swindon Road in the early hours of April 3 this year after a car had struck another parked vehicle and the driver had made off from the scene.

The police managed to trace the car back to Joyce and visited him at his home.

Ms Glover said: “Officers had suspicions he had been drink driving. He gave full and frank admissions.”

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He told police he had drank two or three pints and had two cans of alcohol. His breath test showed 64 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, with the limit being 35.

Christopher Wilson, defending, said his client had been to his grandmother’s funeral earlier in the day.

He said: “The defendant had been to his grandmother’s funeral and the wake, then to his cousin’s house, and then to his mother’s house, where he was living at the time.”

Mr Wilson said during his visit to his cousin’s house Joyce had been assaulted by his brother and later when he went to his mother’s house his brother was there, which he hadn’t expected.

He said: “He didn’t want to stay at the house, but had nowhere to go, so he made the erroneous decision to take the car.”

Mr Wilson said Joyce, who works full time as a pub chef, regrets what he did.

He said: “He realises he is going to be disqualified from driving for a time.

“It was an error of judgement on his part at a time when he was greatly distressed.

“He was emotional at having been assaulted by his brother and he was emotional at having been to his grandmother’s funeral.

“His actions on the day in question are entirely out of character for him.”

Joyce was given an 18-month ban from driving. He was fined £300 and ordered to pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £32.