Woman who drove while drunk banned for 14 months

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court

A mother-of-two suspected of drink driving laughed, messed about and sucked instead of blowing when asked to give a breath test, a court heard.

Ex-dental nurse Sonia Chippendale (38) had given a roadside reading of 113 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath at the third attempt. The legal limit is 35. At the police station she did give a first sample of breath, but failed four attempts to provide a second.

Burnley magistrates were told how Chippendale had been arrested after she hit a post just after midnight on Skipton Road, Foulridge. Her car was in the middle of the road.

The defendant, said to have turned to alcohol after the breakdown of her marriage about 18 months ago, was described by her solicitor as “vulnerable” and was accompanied in court by a support worker.

The court heard Chippendale, who is on anti-depressants, had engaged with programmes at Inspire, the alcohol treatment service, and the Women’s Centre since and had reduced her alcohol intake by half.

Chippendale, of Kenilworth Drive, Earby, admitted failing to provide a specimen for analysis on October 14th. She was fined £120, banned for 14 months and must pay a £30 victim surcharge.

Prosecutor Mrs Tracy Yates told the court Chippendale was helped out of the car by two people and one reported smelling alcohol on her breath.

She was stopped from leaving when she knew the police were coming.

When officers arrived and asked who was driving, the defendant stepped forward and said: “It’s me.” At the police station an officer said she had to be helped to stand up and was slurring her words.

Miss Laura Heywood (defending) said Chippendale’s grandmother had died a couple of days before the incident, which had a large impact on her.

Miss Heywood said: “She accepts she has driven this vehicle whilst over the prescribed limit.

“She knows she was very upset, very shaken at the police station and in some circumstances that can amount to a reasonable excuse to not providing a sample of breath, but given her mental health she has decided to plead guilty at the first opportunity.”