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Estate agent jailed after drink binge

PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:17 24 February 2010

By Brian Riedling

AN estate agent who crashed his car after a drinking binge is today starting a six-month prison sentence.

Recorder Thomas Ashe QC told Russell Griffin, from Colchester: “This was a very serious driving offence where you lost total control.

By Brian Riedling

AN estate agent who crashed his car after a drinking binge is today starting a six-month prison sentence.

Recorder Thomas Ashe QC told Russell Griffin, from Colchester: “This was a very serious driving offence where you lost total control. It was an irresponsible piece of driving.

“It was clear to the officers who arrested you that you had consumed a considerable amount of drink.”

Griffin, of Sioux Close, pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court to dangerous driving, failing to provide a specimen of breath and driving without insurance.

The 27-year-old, who held a provisional licence, was disqualified from driving for three years and ordered to take an extended driving test.

Stephanie Farrimond, prosecuting, told the court yesterday said police in Magdalen Street, Colchester, noticed a silver Saab ahead of them straddling the centre of the road at 1am on September 2.

It turned round and, in doing, so mounted the kerb. Police followed the Saab, which turned into Military Road and travelled at between 60mph and 70mph in a 30mph zone.

The Saab, driven by Griffin, went through a set of red traffic lights and made no attempt to brake.

The officers lost sight of it, but were alerted by members of the public and found the Saab had crashed in Whitehall Road, but the driver had left the vehicle.

A search was made of the area and 10 minutes later police saw Griffin and stopped him. Griffin admitted he had crashed his car and added: “You're too fast, I can't run.”

He was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and told a sergeant at Colchester police station: “Yes, I done it. I was a stupid boy.”

Griffin, who said he had drunk eight pints of alcohol and half a bottle of whisky that evening, had failed to provide a specimen of breath for analysis, the court heard.

Andrew Shaw, mitigating, said Griffin had worked hard to build up his estate agency business, which had a turnover of £100,000 a year.

But the fledgling business had spiralling debts of £20,000, which had put increased pressure on him, and that led to Griffin's “gargantuan consumption of alcohol”, which was a problem he had sought to address.

Griffin had voluntarily been attending an Open Road Programme in Colchester, which had helped him reduce his drinking.

Mr Shaw added: “Griffin employs three people. If he were to lose his liberty, the business couldn't survive.”

A spokesman for Griffin's company, Homes Assured Estate Agents in Highwoods Square, Colchester, said: “We shall certainly carry on. At this point I don't think I have any other comment to make.”

Speaking after the case, Sgt Chris Tyler, of Stanway traffic police, said: “I am very pleased with the sentence as it sends a strong message to people about their driving behaviour and to people who drink and drive or drive dangerously.”


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