‘Unbelievable’ how man (75) not sent to jail

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A judge declared as “unbelievable” how a pensioner had managed to escape going to jail despite having 17 drink driving and driving while banned convictions.

Having heard that 75-year-old Lawrence Murdock had not reoffended since he deferred passing sentence a year ago, District Judge Mark Hamill said he would do as promised and impose a five month jail sentence but suspended for three years.

Murdock, from the Moss Road in Drumbo, was also banned from driving for 15 years after it was revealed the pensioner had eight previous convictions for driving while disqualified and nine for drink driving.

“Your driving career is over, get that into your head,” declared the judge adding, “I cannot quite grasp how you have avoided prison but I can absolutely assure you that if you come back for driving offences you will not escape prison.”

At an earlier hearing Murdock had pleaded guilty to driving while banned, driving without insurance and obstructing a constable on 16 June last year.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court how police stopped a Mercedes car on the Upper Knockbreda Road but that checks revealed the driving had given false details and that he was in fact Murdock who was a disqualified driver. When that was put to him the pensioner made full admissions.

Defence solicitor Mark Campbell said the offending stemmed from an alcohol problem.

Imposing the suspended sentence, driving ban and fining Murdock £250, DJ Hamill said, “you will have to win the lottery to get an insurance quote.”