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82-year-old gets fourth drink-drive conviction

Pensioner who flouted resulting bans is spared jail - and blames bus cuts

John Garvey

John Garvey


01635 886628

court gavel

A NEWBURY pensioner repeatedly risked other road users’ lives by showing total disregard for drink-drive laws then flouting the resulting bans.

The 82-year-old, who works at Newbury Racecourse, recently racked up his fourth drink-driving conviction and his second offence of driving while disqualified and uninsured

However, when told by Reading magistrates he could potentially go to prison, Terence John Keaney looked stunned.

Earlier, his defence had blamed his latest offence on West Berkshire Council cuts to a bus service.

Yet at a sentencing hearing on Tuesday, December 11, he walked free with just a curfew... and another driving ban.

Prosecutor Clare Barclay had told Reading magistrates that Mr Keaney was already supposed to be serving a three-year ban for the latest drink-driving offence when police spotted him behind the wheel.

His car was veering across the carriageway and on to the wrong side of the road, the court heard.

Ms Barclay said: “It was driving very slowly, but moving across the white line and into the other lane.

“That attracted the attention of police officers and the defendant failed a roadside breath test.”

Mr Keaney, who lives at Rokeby Close, Newbury, admitted driving a Vauxhall Astra on Newtown Road after drinking more than the legal limit on November 18.

This time, tests showed 47mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in his system.

The legal limit is 35mcg.

Mr Keaney also admitted driving while disqualified and driving without insurance on the same occasion.

Ms Barclay then told magistrates about his three previous convictions for drink-driving within the last few years, plus the previous conviction for driving while disqualified and for driving without insurance.

Shehneela Ahmed, defending, said: “He accepts he has totally disregarded court orders.”

She said her client suffered blackouts but, despite being semi-retired, was still employed at Newbury Racecourse.

Ms Ahmed suggested that West Berkshire Council public service cuts had played a part, telling the court: “He received a phone call from a friend in distress just before midnight.

“You may be aware that the local authority has stopped running a particular bus scheme, so he decided to drive his vehicle.

“He was fully co-operative with the police and admitted that he knew he was disqualified from driving.”

As she released Mr Keaney on bail while pre-sentence reports were prepared, presiding magistrate Lindsey Appleton warned that they would be done on an “all options basis, including custody”.

Mr Keaney, smartly dressed in a suit and tie, looked surprised and asked: “Custody?”

But at the sentencing hearing, Mr Kearney once more avoided any kind of custodial sentence.

Instead, he was made subject to a community order with curfew requirement, which means he must stay at home between 7pm and 7am for two months.

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

Finally, he was banned from driving – again – for another three years.

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