Sunderland motorist almost three times the limit after downing bottles of Desperado following death of friend

A woman turned to drink following a friend’s death before being stopped while almost three times the limit

Friday, 17th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 20th January 2020, 10:28 am

Kirsty Pounder, 41, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol when she appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

Clare Irving, prosecuting, said police spotted Pounder, of Newington Court, Sunderland, driving erratically in the city’s Newcastle Road area at around 9pm on December 10 last year.

She said: “She was swerving in the lane. She was jerking between lanes one and two.”

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The case was heard at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

Ms Irving said Pounder stopped when the lights turned to red, but didn’t move off when they turned green and then took off at speed.

She was stopped by police officers and tests showed she had 98 microgrammes in 100 millilitres of breath with the limit being 35.

She said the defendant said she usually only drinks one can of Guinness every night for health benefits.

Mark Richardson, defending, said his client, who has a similar conviction from almost ten years ago, doesn’t cope with grief.

He said: “A childhood friend had tragically died and she learned of this two days before this incident.”

Mr Richardson said on the evening in question Pounder had gone to a pub in the city where she knew her friend’s aunt worked to find out more about what had happened and the funeral arrangements.

He said: “Because she was so emotional she drank some bottles of Desperado to calm herself down.”

The solicitor said his client accepts she should not have been driving and her standard of driving was poor.

He added: “Her mindset is that she is planning on giving up driving altogether.”

A single woman with an adult daughter, he said Pounder can’t afford the insurance payments for a car and is going to give up driving and concentrate on her health as she has some mobility issues.

Mr Richardson said although she is currently on benefits, Pounder is hoping to get a job.

She was given a 12-month community order with 80 hours of unpaid work, banned from driving for three years and told to pay £85 costs and a £90 surcharge.