Drunken grieving son’s crash shame

Exterior of Wigan and Leigh Courthouse, Wigan

Exterior of Wigan and Leigh Courthouse, Wigan

A businessman mourning the death of his mother has apologised after driving into a car park barrier at a hospital while four times over the drink-drive limit.

Stephen Silcock, of Old School Place, Ashton, said he was “very, very sorry” when he appeared in the dock at Wigan And Leigh Magistrates’ Court this week.

I have let so many people down, my friends and family, people who work for me

Stephen Silcock

He pleaded guilty to driving with 144 microgrammes of alcohol in 100mls of breath - more than four times the legal limit of 35mgs.

Carl Gaffney, prosecuting, said that police were called when a van drove into a security barrier at Wrightington Hospital at 4.10pm on Friday August 19.

The vehicle was then parked and Silcock apologised, but could not remember what he had done, the court heard.

Mr Gaffney said there was no reason for Silcock to be at the hospital.

“He had just drunk so much that he frankly didn’t know what he was doing or why he was doing it.

“The best guess is that he wanted to get off the road,” he said.

Probation officer Jackie Ledger told the court that Silcock owned a business and had a lot of responsibility, but had been “under a lot of stress lately”.

She said: “Unfortunately his mother died earlier on in the year and on this particular day him and his brother were tending to the grave.

“He said he was feeling down and depressed and he bought a bottle of vodka and drank it over a couple of hours.”

Colin Rawson, defending, said that Silcock had parked “in the north Wigan area”, drank the vodka in the vehicle and driven to the hospital.

But he did not know how far he had driven.

Silcock referred himself to Addaction, Wigan And Leigh Recovery Partnership, soon after the incident.

Mr Rawson said: “He has recognised straight away after the arrest that there are issues to resolve and he will continue to work with the recovery partnership to ensure he gets the help and support he needs to address any problems regarding alcohol.”

The hearing was told that Silcock, 54, had no previous convictions and had arranged for a driver to assist him with his work duties, as he realised he was facing “a lengthy driving ban”.

Speaking to magistrates from the dock, Silcock said: “I would like to apologise to the court.

“I am very, very sorry, embarrassed, full of remorse.

“I have let so many people down, my friends and family, people who work for me.

“It’s just a terrible thing, it’s totally out of character and I can assure you it will never happen again.

“I would like to apologise, I am very sorry.”

Sentencing, chairman of the bench Leslie Hatton said to Silcock: “You don’t need me to tell you how serious this is.

“We are going to give you a suspended prison sentence.”

He was jailed for eight weeks, a sentence which was suspended for 12 months, he must carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay both £85 in court costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

Silcock was banned from driving for 36 months and can attend a drink-driving rehabilitation course which could reduce the ban by 36 weeks.