Sunderland drink-driver found covered in blood

Martha Phiri
Martha Phiri

A drunk woman was four-and-a-half times the legal limit when she crashed her car in the car park of a Sunderland tower block.

Martha Phiri was found covered in blood next to her car wearing only a top and coat and no shoes following the incident on November 16, Sunderland magistrates heard.

The 44-year-old has a previous drink-driving offence on her record and had no insurance or a valid driving licence when she crashed in the early hours, the court was told.

She has now been jailed for four months, suspended for a year, and banned from the roads for four years.

Prosecutor Maimuna Bappa said police were called to the car park at Phiri's home address of Lambton Tower, in Sunderland's East End, at 5.40am.

Officers had been alerted to a possible drink-driver.

Ms Bappa said: "They approached the security barrier. It was lifted slightly and appeared dented and unaligned.

"Inside the car park was a silver Daewoo with substantial damage to the front and rear bumper.

"The driver's door was slightly open, but there was no driver within the vehicle.

"Officers searched the grounds and approximately eight metres from the vehicle, they came across a female sitting on the ground.

"She had only a top and coat on and no footwear.

"She had a lot of blood on her face, head and in her hair.

"She was so intoxicated she was unable to speak and an ambulance was called."

Police found Phiri's keys and a bank card in the vehicle, along with some clothing belonging to her, the court heard.

"Ms Phiri was extremely incoherent and was physically sick a number of times prior to the ambulance arriving," Ms Bappa added.

"She had to be assisted to stand up."

The court heard Phiri had been earlier been seen on CCTV in the lift of the property and using her fob to lift security barrier.

Due to the camera angle, no crash was captured on the footage.

Phiri was arrested and a blood test showed she had 361mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood - the legal limit being 80.

Ms Bappa said: "In interview she said she remembered going out to the shop, but from then on she couldn't remember anything.

"The next thing she woke up in hospital and the doctors told her she had crashed her car and someone called the police."

Phiri told officers she had bought the car for her social worker to use while assisting her.

Phiri pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol, driving without insurance and not in accordance with a driving licence.

She has a previous conviction for the same offence and a public order offence on her record committed after this offence.

Phillipa Wylie, defending, said Phiri suffered from a number of health problems.

She added: "She is a lady who has been in the UK a number of years, and until recently was a viable member of society.

"She was working and has two grown-up children.

"Her diagnosis led to a breakdown of her relationship and she stopped working and claims benefits.

"She had been working and paying her taxes and it was something of a shock and she couldn't cope very well.

"Alcohol has then become a factor in her decision-making to try and cope with some of the issues she has and she stated drinking to excess."

Phiri was also told to pay a £115 surcharge and £85 costs.