Driver who hit car was five times over the limit

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A 47-year-old woman who was nearly five times over the legal drink drive limit was banned from the roads for three years last Wednesday at Craigavon Magistrates Court.

Alison Vennard, Churchill Place, Waringstown, admitted two motoring offences which happened on November 10 last year.

For driving with excess alcohol in her breath she was fined £300, ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy and disqualified for three years. She was also fined £100 and banned for a year for driving without due care and attention.

The court heard that at approximately 3.30pm police received a report of a possible drink driver on the Gilpinstown Road in Lurgan. Vennard had collided with another vehicle and was in the front of her car when police arrived.

She failed a preliminary breath test and an evidential test gave a reading of 169 – the limit is 35.

Mr Pat Vernon, solicitor, said his client had problems with alcohol. He explained that she wouldn’t drink for long periods and then she would go on binges and this was one of those occasions when she lapsed.

Mr Vernon said Vennard accepted she had been drinking before she hit the parked car but would say that she drank from a bottle of vodka she had in the car before the police arrived.

He added that she had a ‘long standing alcohol problem’ arising from traumatic moments as a child and adult.

Mr Vernon the court that the defendant was going that afternoon to Sister Concilio’s in Newry for a 12 week residential course. Members of her local church were going to bring her.

Deputy District Judge Anne Marshall said it was an exceptionally high reading and was almost five times the legal limit. She noted that Vennard had a previous conviction for an excess alcohol offence and said that if she was back in court again for driving under the influence she would be looking at a prison sentence.