'Silly mistake' lands drink-driver with third disqualification

Heidi Burridge was twice caught driving while almost five times the limit Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Sarah Stewart has previous convictions for drink-driving in 2010 and 2015 - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk woman has been convicted of drink-driving for a third time.

Sarah Stewart appeared at Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Tuesday to admit driving while more than twice the legal limit.

The 32-year-old's Volkswagen Passat was pulled over by police in Fornham Road, Bury St Edmunds, at about 2.30am on Thursday, February 18.

Prosecutor Mark Milkovics said: "Upon speaking to the driver, officers could smell alcohol on her breath."

A roadside test returned a reading of 73 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit being 35mcg.

Two further evidential tests at Bury St Edmunds police investigation centre returned a lower reading of 81mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

Stewart told magistrates: "I made a silly mistake again. I know I did wrong, and I feel terrible for it.

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"There's nothing I can say to condone what I did. I'm just sorry."

The court heard how Stewart, of Anvil Way, Kennett, near Newmarket, had previous convictions for drink-driving in 2015 and 2010.

Following her most recent conviction, she completed the drink-drive rehabilitation course designed to cut reoffending and offer an incentive of reducing the length of a disqualification period.

Stewart told the probation service she was ashamed and disappointed with herself, and acknowledged that intoxication increased the chances of causing a serious collision. 

She explained she had been drinking with a friend and returned home with no intention of driving on the night of the offence, but had driven to the same friend's address after receiving a worrying phone call. 

Stewart was sentenced to a 12-month community order, with 40 hours of unpaid work and up to 25 days of rehabilitation activity requirement.

She was also banned from driving for 46 months and offered the chance to attend another drink-drive rehabilitation course.

Presiding magistrate Malcolm Hogarth said: "We've taken into account your guilty plea. You've accepted that what you were doing was wrong. 

"You were doing a favour for a friend, who you thought was in difficulty, but you accept that the consequences of having an accident would have been severe."