Barnoldswick drink driver jailed after ‘high speed’ escapade

Burnley Crown Court.
Burnley Crown Court.

A drink driver who repeatedly flouts the laws of the road is behind bars after a “high speed” escapade while three times the limit.

Burnley Crown Court heard how self-employed bricklayer Sean Costello (43), was said to have clocked up 80 m.p.h. in a 60 m.p.h. zone, veered across roads and overtaken on the wrong side of a bollard in the late Saturday afternoon incident in the Barnoldswick area in July.

Costello, a third time drink driver, who was being observed by police in an unmarked vehicle, was finally stopped by traffic officers on Park Road. He threw a small packet of cannabis over a garden wall.

He smelled heavily of drink, his speech was slurred and a roadside breath test proved positive.

The defendant was taken to the police station, more cannabis was found on him and a sample showed 109 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Costello, of Edith Street, Barnoldswick, admitted dangerous driving, excess alcohol and possessing cannabis and had been committed for sentence by magistrates. He was locked up for 11 months, banned for two years and must take an extended retest.

The hearing had been told the defendant had 29 previous offences on his record, including taking cars, two drink driving convictions, banned driving, no insurance, no licence, failing to stop, failing to report an accident and causing a vehicle to be left in a dangerous position.

Mr Stephen Parker (prosecuting), said when Costello was interviewed, he told police he had drunk five pints. He said he had been an idiot and appeared to be distraught.

Mr John Woodward (defending), said he expressed contrition and remorse. He accepted he had been speeding, but not travelling at 80 m.p.h.

He had been under enormous pressure at the time as his divorce was being finalised and a building society was hounding him for money for repayment of a mortgage.

He was with a good friend in a pub and was talking over his problems. The defendant never anticipated drinking five pints of beer.

Mr Woodward said: “He told the police ‘I have been an idiot.’ That’s exactly what he was on that particular day.”

Costello, now living with his new partner and her two children, was currently building six houses in a bricklaying gang. The barrister added: “I accept that these are serious offences. He would have no complaint if the court sent him immediately to custody today.”

Judge Beverley Lunt told the defendant there had been quite a lot of other traffic about and his actions defied belief.

She continued: “Whatever pressures, whatever worries you had cannot justify you going out in a car and putting other people’s lives at risk and that’s exactly what you did.”

The judge added: “I have to punish you and I must deter others from acting as you have acted.”

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