Ipswich: Anger after man slumped drunk at wheel avoids ban

SUFFOLK: The sister of a woman killed by a drink- driver has condemned the actions of a drunk man found slumped at his steering wheel.

Michelle Luetchford’s sister Emma Harold was killed after a driver mounted the pavement.

Today her sister has spoken out after a court case in which Robert Aitchison, 42, of Newberry Road in Bildeston avoided a driving ban. Ms Luetchford, who has done work for the road safety charity Brake, said: “I think it’s disgusting. People shouldn’t drink alcohol and get into their car.

“He may not have been driving, but you shouldn’t go anywhere near a car when you’ve had a drink.”

Instead of a driving ban, Aitchison will serve 250 hours of community service over 18 months. He will have ten points put on his driver’s licence and will have to pay a �50 fine for a bail act offence in December which he pleaded guilty to, �85 in costs and a �15 victim surcharge.

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Aitchison was found by police in the Burlington Road area of Ipswich after they were told by several people that he was slumped over the wheel. Police found him with a can of lager nearby.

When tested, he had 97 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 milliletres of breath – the legal limit is 35mcg.

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The court was told Aitchison had a row before the incident and bought lager and a bottle of liquor afterwards because he was upset.

He then parked his car at the side of the road and consumed the alcohol.

The court was told Aitchison has had problems with drink for most of his life but has now stopped drinking. South East Suffolk magistrates said he avoided custody because he pleaded guilty to being in charge of a motor vehicle while intoxicated and has stopped drinking, but he was warned if he re-offended he could face jail.

Michelle Luetchford’s sister Miss Harold was killed in Foxhall Road, Ipswich on February 21, 2009.

Friend Kate Wasyluk also died and Michelle and Emma’s other sister, Beccy Harold, was seriously injured. The driver of the car, Scott Nicholls, 20, was jailed for eight years after admitting causing the deaths by dangerous driving. It was also found that he was “high on drink and drugs”.

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