Former soldier drove while more than three times the limit, court hears

Walton appeared before Suffolk Magistrates' Court Picture: ARCHANT

Walton appeared before Suffolk Magistrates' Court Picture: ARCHANT

A former soldier has been banned from the road for 26 months after he was caught more than three times the drink drive limit in Bury St Edmunds.

David Walton, 32, of Heathland Way, Bury St Edmunds, pleaded guilty at Suffolk Magistrates' Court in Ipswich on Tuesday to failing to stop when required by a constable and driving with excess alcohol.

Prosecuting, Ian Devine said on October 25, at around 7.15pm, officers received reports that a van had driven away after a collision with another vehicle at the central interchange roundabout, near the Tesco supermarket on the outskirts of the town.

He said a police officer spotted Walton's Vauxhall Vivaro, which had been identified as the vehicle involved, and chased it on foot.

He told the court: "The driver had totally ignored him and didn't see him cause he simply drove straight past him."

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When the officer couldn't catch up, he got in his vehicle and chased the van through traffic at low speed but the van still did not pull over.

Mr Devine said: "It just seemed Mr Walton was so drunk he didn't realise the police were behind him, even with the blue lights and siren on."

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Walton was eventually pulled over, blowing 111mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath at Bury Police Investigation Centre. The legal limit is 35mg.

In mitigation, Andrew Cleal said Walton was a former solider who had served in Iraq between 2006 and 2008.

"He has had a lot of direct experience of violence and losing compatriots when he was a medic," he said.

"He had been diagnosed with PTSD. The experience in Iraq left him taking alcohol and (Walton) is now a resident of a rehabilitation centre he was sent to."

The court heard Walton had been living at the centre since early November incident and was making good progress.

Following an all-options report from probation, the court heard he was very remorseful about the incident and angry with himself that he had driven the car while intoxicated.

Walton was banned from driving for 26 months, to be reduced by 26 weeks on completion of a course, and handed a 12 week curfew from 10pm to 6am.

He was also made to pay costs of £85 and a £90 victim surcharge.

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