Former RAF serviceman nearly four times drink-drive limit in King’s Lynn police stop, court told

The crest above the entrance to King's Lynn Court in College Lane.
The crest above the entrance to King's Lynn Court in College Lane.

A former RAF serviceman was stopped by police in the centre of Lynn while nearly four times over the drink-drive limit.

Magistrates this week heard Shaun Watkinson was thought to use alcohol as a “coping mechanism” related to aspects of his military career.

Watkinson, 49, of High Street, Fincham, pleaded guilty to a single charge of drink-driving during a hearing in Lynn on Monday.

The court was told he had been stopped by police on King Street, Lynn, on March 15, after officers were alerted to his vehicle.

After failing a roadside breath test, later samples showed he had 134 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – almost four times the legal limit of 35.

Solicitor Tiffany Meredith, for Watkinson, said her client had worked periodically with the Norfolk Recovery Partnership (NRP) to tackle alcoholism he had suffered “on and off” for several years.

She said that a drop-in centre he attended in Downham had closed last autumn, at around the same time he lost his job.

On the day of the incident, he had drunk alcohol before attending an appointment with the NRP and had intended to drive home afterwards.

Miss Meredith said Watkinson had only driven around 50 yards before being stopped, but conceded he would have driven home had police not intervened.

She added: “He is quite devastated to be before the court today.”

The court also heard that NRP staff believed Watkinson, who served in the RAF for 23 years including the first Gulf War, may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, though he had not received a formal medical diagnosis.

Miss Meredith said he had also undergone mental health treatment under the care of Lynn’s Fermoy unit.

Watkinson was banned from driving for 29 months and fined £250.

He was also ordered to pay £85 costs, plus a £30 victim surcharge.