Drink-driver's trail of destruction

Tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage caused

Drink-driver's trail of destruction

A DRINK-driver who left a trail of devastation in his wake has appeared for sentencing at Reading Magistrates’ Court.

John Nicholas West caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage to properties when he lost control of his Audi S5 after leaving The Mill pub in Bradley-Moore Square, Thatcham.

He struck several buildings, completely demolishing a double garage and a garden shed, damaging others and smashing down a brick wall, scattering bricks and debris into the road in Draper Close near The Moors in Thatcham.

Firefighters spent more than an hour at the scene, securing it and making it safe.

Meanwhile, 36-year-old Mr West, of Derwent Road, Thatcham, was taken to hospital.

Charlotte Abbotts, prosecuting on Thursday, February 22, said: “The damage caused was very extensive, running into tens of thousands of pounds in relation to a number of garages and personal belongings in them.

“The garden wall and shed were also casualties and the Audi S5 was written off.

“Mr West said he had been doing 45mph in a 30mph limit when a cat ran out in front of him, causing him to hit a brick wall, spin round and carry on into the garages.”

Tests subsequently showed 139mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system. The legal limit is 80mg.

Mr West admitted driving after drinking more than the legal limit in the early hours of November 5 last year.

He has no previous convictions.

Representing himself in court, Mr West said: “I shouldn’t have been in control of a car.

“It was my terrible mistake, for which I’m sorry.”

He said he worked as a warehouse supervisor for energy supplier SSE and had been to London with his family hours previously.

He said he then decided to go for drinks at The Mill, adding: “I messed up.”

District judge Sophie Toms told Mr West: “Your alcohol reading was high and the most aggravating feature in this case is the crash.

“Thankfully no one was injured.

“If there had been, you could have gone to prison for a number of years.

“That’s why drinking and driving is such a stupid thing to do.

“However, it seems to me you are remorseful for your actions.”

Mr West was fined £400.

In addition, he was ordered to pay £85 costs, plus a statutory victim services surcharge of £40.

Finally, he was banned from driving for 18 months.