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Burghfield drink-driver Janette Walsh was ‘basically incoherent’





A QUICK-thinking member of the public stopped a drink-driver from leaving in her car.

Janette Walsh was “basically incoherent” as she tried to leave the scene, Reading magistrates heard on Thursday, November 9.

Reading Magistrates Courts
Reading Magistrates Courts

Chad Echakovitz, prosecuting, said: “Police received a report of a drunk female trying to drive a black Vauxhall Corsa on Clayhill Road in Burghfield.

“Officers attended and formed the impression she was intoxicated by alcohol.”

Fifty-six-year-old Ms Walsh, of The Close, Burghfield was given three opportunities to provide a roadside breath sample for analysis but failed to blow hard enough each time, the court heard.

Mr Echakovitz added: “Then, at the police station, she refused to provide a sample due, she said, to her bipolar disorder and anxiety.”

Ms Walsh admitted failing to provide a specimen for analysis at Lower Earley on Thursday, October 26.

She also has previous convictions, the court heard, but these date back to 1984 and beyond.

Adonis Daniel, defending, outlined his client’s mental health issues and said that, on that day, she had taken the benzodiazepene medication, diazepam.

He added: “She had also consumed some alcohol, which sent her into a mental health crisis.

“She got into her car but doesn’t actively remember; a customer from the barber shop nearby came and effectively stopped her car and stopped her from moving off.

“She had a bit of a meltdown that morning – the person who stopped her said she was basically incoherent.”

Mr Daniel pointed out that Ms Walsh lived in a comparatively remote area and would find it difficult to access public transport for her medical appointments at the West Berkshire Community Hospital near Newbury.

District judge Samuel Goozee told Ms Walsh: “It’s quite clear that on the day in question, albeit there’s clear evidence you had been drinking, that the deterioration in your mental health was impacting your behaviour, and provides some context as to why the procedure at the police station wasn’t completed, although this isn’t sufficient to amount to a defence in law.”

He fined Ms Walsh £200.

In addition she was ordered to pay £85 costs plus a statutory victim services surcharge of £80.

Finally, Ms Walsh was banned from driving for 14 months.



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