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73-year-old woman caught drink-driving in Hunstanton after meeting friend for wine in Dersingham





A 73-year-old woman has been banned from driving after being caught swerving across a carriageway – having consumed “a couple of glasses of wine”.

Carmel Russell appeared at Lynn Magistrates’ Court on Thursday via video link, pleading guilty to drink-driving and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.

She committed the offences on June 10, with two on-duty police officers pulling her over on the A149 in Hunstanton shortly after 9pm on that date.

Carmel Russell was caught drink-driving on June 10. Picture: iStock
Carmel Russell was caught drink-driving on June 10. Picture: iStock

Crown prosecutor Stephen Munton told magistrates that Russell was struggling to stay within the designated road lines, and police subsequently illuminated their lights to have her stop.

The defendant then stalled her Vauxhall Astra while she attempted to draw to a halt, causing it to jump forward, and was unsteady on her feet after exiting it. She also slurred her words while speaking to officers.

Russell was asked to perform a roadside breath test, and provided a reading of 67mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath. She was arrested, and in custody she provided an evidential sample of 61mcg per 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.

It then transpired that Russell’s driving licence had expired on February 10 this year, meaning that having had no previous offences on her record, she had committed two on the day.

In mitigation, Ryan Creek said: “Ms Russell is incredibly nervous about being in court today. This is the first time she has ever been in trouble.”

The solicitor detailed a serious illness which the defendant was diagnosed with in January this year, and added that she separated from her husband around two years ago.

Russell, who lives at Sheriffs Court in Burrough Green in Suffolk, was “heavily reliant” on him for sorting out paperwork and bank accounts, Mr Creek said, and she has therefore experienced “some problems in managing her affairs”.

On the day of her offences, Russell was said to have attended a group in Dersingham with other individuals who suffer from the same illness she does.

A friend then asked if she wanted to meet in Hunstanton, which they did – and while together, they consumed “a couple of glasses of wine”.

“She completely miscalculated how much that would affect her,” Mr Creek said.

Russell was then driving back to Dersingham when she was pulled over by police. She told Mr Creek she could not remember swerving between road markings, and that her glazed eyes were down to the emotional nature of her meeting earlier in the day.

“It was a mistake on her part. Fortunately, there was no other person involved in a sort of road traffic incident or something like that,” the solicitor added.

“I think this has really dawned on her… the consequences of losing her driving licence in a rural area.”

Magistrates, led by John Hare, subsequently banned Russell from driving for 17 months.

She was also fined £175, and will pay a £70 victim surcharge and £50 in legal costs.



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