Violent drink-driver on self imposed ‘forced detox’ before sentencing

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court, in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court, in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

A Felixstowe man could face custody after admitting drink-driving, assault and threatening behaviour.

Philip Harper had also admitted failing to give blood for alcohol analysis before appearing at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court, in Ipswich, on Monday.

The 44-year-old was reported to police by McDonald’s staff after his Mercedes collided with a customer display on January 29.

Prosecutor David Bryant said Harper’s car then hit a dirt bank, leaving the bumper behind as it left the Felixstowe drive-through.

He then drove into a fence in Langer Road and attempted to reverse away before “staggering” out of the car.


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Harper was “indecipherable” when police arrived – but told officers he had consumed vodka and sleeping pills, and was taken to provide a sample, which returned a reading of 195mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine – the legal limit being 107.

On February 24, neighbours witnessed the former landscape gardener’s work vehicle collide with a van in Manwick Road.

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After scraping the other vehicle four times, Harper continued home and later answered the door to police, holding a claw hammer and shouting: “You want some?”

He twice ignored instructions to drop the hammer, before obeying the order when warned with the use of incapacitant spray.

Again, he was taken to hospital to provide blood for analysis – but became aggressive and kicked a woman trying to take the sample.

On April 10, police were called to Harper’s address, where he was smashing windows from the inside, throwing broken glass and household items into the street, and shouting abuse at passers-by.

He also demanded the attendance of the officer who arrested him for drink-driving.

Shelley Drew, representing Harper as duty solicitor, said a great deal was to be said in mitigation for Harper’s behaviour.

She recommended magistrates adjourn sentencing for the preparation of a pre-sentence report by the probation service.

“It won’t be a surprise that alcohol forms a huge part of the issue,” she said.

“Therefore, an alcohol treatment programme could form part of that report.”

Harper was said to be going on a three-week “forced detox” before his sentencing on June 12.

He was granted unconditional bail and banned from driving in the interim.

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