Drunk woman spared jail over 9mph drive

Blackpool Magistrates Court
Blackpool Magistrates Court

A bank clerk was more than four times over the alcohol limit when she repeatedly drove on the wrong side of the road with her young daughter and family dog in the car.

Joanne Shenton was followed by a witness, who gave a running commentary on a mobile phone to police about her appalling driving.

This is one of the highest readings this bench has had to deal with. There was a risk to your daughter and other road users

She first drove at 9mph then repeatedly veered onto the opposite carriageway forcing other motorists to swerve and narrowly avoided hitting a moped rider and parked cars.

A breath test showed Shenton had 150 micrograms of alcohol in her body – 35 is the limit. Shenton, 44, of Rivington Avenue, Bispham, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol.

She was sentenced to 12 weeks’ jail suspended for 12 months, put on a 12-month community order with up to 20 days’ rehabilitation to be supervised by the Probation Service, banned from the road for 36 months and ordered to pay £85 costs plus £115 victims’ surcharge by Blackpool magistrates.

Presiding magistrate, Peter Taylor, told her: “This is one of the highest readings this bench has had to deal with. There was a risk to your daughter and other road users.”

Martine Connah, prosecuting, said a woman passenger in a car behind Shenton’s Peugeot saw her driving erratically on Cumberland Avenue on April 15 at 7.30pm.

The woman was suspicious because Shenton, who had her 12-year-old daughter and a large dog in the back, was driving so slowly. The woman phoned police and gave a running commentary as she followed Shenton along Stockdove Close, North Drive and Fleetwood Road during which the defendant repeatedly drove along on the wrong side of the road.

Kathryn Jamieson-Sinclair, defending, said her client, had endured a number of tragedies over the past years.

Her husband had committed suicide, one of her children had autism and four weeks before the offence her mum had died.

Shenton accepted she was an alcoholic who binge drank. The night of the offence she had drunk half-a-bottle of vodka. In a report to the court, probation officer Lesley Whittaker, said Shenton had been diagnosed as suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after her husband’s suicide.