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Drink driver seen staggering from car

Witnesses rang police to warn them of intoxicated motorist

John Garvey

John Garvey

john.garvey@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886628

Court

WITNESSES at a bar were so alarmed that a “highly intoxicated” motorist planned to drive home, they called police.

And when officers tracked the culprit down, they noticed how she staggered from her car, Reading magistrates heard on Thursday.

In the dock was 54-year-old Beverly Hogarth, of Lambdens Cottages, off Admoor Lane, Beenham.

Clare Barclay, prosecuting, said: “Police received information from Purley Sports and Social Club that she was highly intoxicated and had been overheard telling someone on the phone that she would be driving home.

“Officers were given information about her car and tried to intercept her.”

They came across Ms Hogarth approaching a petrol station and Ms Barclay added: “The car was weaving about... the defendant got out and staggered towards one of the officers.”

After failing a roadside breath test, Ms Hogarth was arrested and taken to a police station.

She admitted driving a Seat Ibiza on Reading Road, Pangbourne, on July 13, after drinking more than the legal limit.

Tests showed 69mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in her system – almost double the legal limit of 35mcg.

She has no previous convictions, the court heard.

Ms Hogarth, who represented herself, told magistrates she was “extremely ashamed and embarrassed”.

She said the offence was “totally out of character” for her and that she had been suffering depression and financial problems.

Ms Hogarth added that, in addition to this, she had discovered that her partner at the time had been involved in criminal activities for which charges had been brought, which “came as a dreadful shock”.

In addition, she said, she had recently lost the business she ran and had been declared bankrupt.

She had gone to a friend’s house for emotional support where she had lavender-flavoured gin and tonic, which had tasted weak and “like a soft drink”.

However, she conceded: “They may have topped my drink up.”

Ms Hogarth, who said she was a single mother, went on: “I’ve no excuse – I should have monitored it. I felt fine to drive.”

She concluded that she was in danger of losing her job as a result of the inevitable driving ban and “in the worst case scenario”, her home.

Magistrates fined Ms Hogarth £340 and ordered her to pay £85 costs, plus a statutory victim services surcharge of £34.

She was banned from driving for 18 months.

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