Drink-driving nurse banned

A NURSE who crashed her car while more than four times over the legal drink-drive limit was mourning her partner who committed suicide by setting himself alight, a court heard.

A NURSE who crashed her car while more than four times over the legal drink-drive limit was mourning her partner who committed suicide by setting himself alight, a court heard.

Jane Miles, 49, of Durham Close, Bury St Edmunds was spared a jail sentence by magistrates yesterday because of the “extreme” mitigating circumstances which led to her offence.

The court was told how Miles had driven head on into another car at Severn Road, Bury, on the afternoon of August 23 and when breathalysed, it showed she had 160 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, the legal limit being 35.

On the night before the accident, the court was told Miles had “drank and drank and drank” and did not remember going to bed or getting up the next morning.


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At an earlier hearing, where Miles had pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol, magistrates said hers was one of the highest readings they had ever come across.

Michael Whatley, defending Miles, said she was undergoing a great deal of stress and trauma at the time “because of the horrific death of her partner, who blew himself up and who was so badly injured he could not at first be identified and had to be identified by DNA.”

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Her partner, Raymond Hartley, 57, a lorry driver, killed himself in January by dousing himself and his lorry cab in petrol and setting it alight, and an inquest held in August, shortly before Miles's accident, gave a verdict of suicide.

Miles had no idea he intended to take his own life, the court heard, but after his death it transpired he had faced mounting debts of which she had been unaware.

Mr Whatley said Miles's sister had also committed suicide and her dog had died, adding to her grief, and on the night before the accident she had been unable to sleep because of her emotional state and had turned to drink.

He said: “For reasons she can't explain, she drank and drank and drank and can't remember going back to bed or getting up the next morning.” He said she had got into her car “in a trance.”

A statement was read out in court from Joanne Powell, who had been in the car Miles drove into, said she had been subject to mood swings and reluctant to drive since the accident and her eight-year-old daughter, who was also in the car, had also been distressed.

Mr Whatley said Miles did not have a drink problem and the incident was an isolated one.

He said Miles planned to meet with Miss Powell and intended to make some financial reparation.

Magistrates had earlier warned Miles she could face a prison sentence, but said under the circumstances they did not feel this was appropriate and instead imposed a four-year driving ban, a community rehabilitation order under the supervision of the probation service for six months and 100 hours community service.

She was also ordered to pay £43 costs and the court was told that although she was allowed to keep her job as a nurse in spite of her conviction, she intended to move to Bolton to be with her son.

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