Ex-soldier required help standing when caught four times driving limit

Ipswich Magistrates' Court Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Magistrates' Court Picture: ARCHANT

An army veteran could barely stand when taken into custody for driving while four times the legal alcohol limit.

Richard Wiltshire told worried onlookers a broken leg was his reason for staggering around in Old Barrack Road, Woodbridge.

The 56-year-old Black Watch veteran was seen stumbling into his Ford B-Max outside the Co-op, where he had driven to pick up more alcohol for himself and a visiting friend on April 13.

Soon after being found swaying about on a nearby footpath, Wiltshire fell on his back and needed help from police to stand up, despite telling officers he had consumed a single glass of wine.

He required further assistance at police headquarters, where he sat slumped against a wall and made no comment, other than confirmation of his home address at Orwell Court, Woodbridge.

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Wiltshire, who served four tours of duty in Northern Ireland, appeared before magistrates on Monday to admit driving with 146 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit being 35mcg.

The court heard how Wiltshire had been subject to a community order for harassment at the time of the offence and had undergone alcohol treatment as part of a previous court order in 2013.

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Solicitor David Allan said Wiltshire’s impairment was in part, but not entirely, due to alcohol consumption.

He said a roadside breathalyser reading of 117mcg indicated rising levels of alcohol between driving and providing evidential samples at the police station.

Mr Allan said Wiltshire had used alcohol to deal with trauma experienced during his time in the Royal Highlander Regiment, but had since received assistance from Project Nova, which supports veterans entering police custody.

A serious stroke in 2015 had affected his mobility, explained Mr Allan, who said: “I think that is, at least in part, an explanation for his appearance that day.”

Mr Allan added: “This man should never have been behind the wheel. No one understands that better than himself.

“Given the number of issues he is actively engaging with, I submit there is great benefit in allowing that to continue, but to place his behaviour under the auspices of a suspended sentence.”

Wiltshire was handed a 12-week prison term, suspended for two years. He was disqualified from driving for three years and must attend 25 days of rehabilitation.

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