Ipswich/Woodbridge: Unlicensed drug-driver Patrick O’Hara crashed car three hours after buying it
16:07 06 January 2014
A prolific criminal who has racked up more than 100 offences has now been jailed for drug driving after crashing the car he had bought just three hours earlier.
Patrick O’Hara, formerly of Cromwell Square, Ipswich, was given four weeks’ imprisonment and disqualified from driving for four years by the town’s magistrates.
The 35-year-old pleaded guilty to driving while unfit through a prescription drug, and using a vehicle without insurance or a licence.
O’Hara’s four-week jail term was added on to a 14-week sentence he is currently serving for stealing a DVD player and television from an Ipswich church on December 15, and breaching a previous suspended sentence for shoplifting.
Magistrates were told O’Hara, who had 117 previous convictions, went to Hacheston, near Woodbridge, to buy a car at around 5pm on September 7 last year.
Prosecutor Colette Harper said at 8.07pm police received a call from a publican stating an intoxicated male had got into a vehicle and driven off towards Orford.
Two minutes later the same car passed the pub again going towards Woodbridge.
At 8.40pm police were contacted by a fire crew attending an accident in Bealings Road, Martlesham.
The court heard the male driver was said to have been seen staggering from the car and appeared drunk.
When police arrived O’Hara seemed intoxicated, could hardly stand or walk in a straight line and his eyes were nearly closed giving the impression of drowsiness.
A breath test proved negative, but blood samples were taken which proved positive for a prescription drug he took for epilepsy.
Magistrates were told O’Hara had been banned from driving for 18 months in 2010 for driving while disqualified, and had never applied to get his licence back.
Sue Threadkell, representing O’Hara, said at the time of the crash he was not taking his medication properly, and took it after buying and driving off in a silver Peugeot 206.
Mrs Threadkell added it was hoped that when O’Hara left prison he would be able to go into a residential rehabilitation unit for treatment to a pre-existing drug habit.
The court was also told he suffered from severe epilepsy.