Owner of bed and breakfast in Colkirk appears in King’s Lynn court
A bed and breakfast owner “necked a couple of bottles of wine” before being found unresponsive in his car at the side of the road.
Vance Taylor, 43, of Raynham Road in Colkirk, near Fakenham, appeared at Lynn Magistrates’ Court on Thursday charged with being in charge of a vehicle while above the legal alcohol limit.
He pleaded guilty to the offence, which he committed on May 7.
On that date, police were called to Tittleshall Road in Fakenham by the ambulance service – which had in turn been called by a member of the public who found Taylor unresponsive in the driver’s seat of a car at the side of the road.
A paramedic had suspected he was over the limit, and officers found him “virtually unresponsive to anything they said to him”, according to crown prosecutor Holly Postle.
He had been found with a seatbelt on, while the engine was still running and a bottle of wine was placed between his legs. Police felt that he was “too drunk to be breathalysed”.
Taylor was therefore transported to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Lynn, where a sample taken revealed he had 223mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system. The legal limit to drive or be in charge of a vehicle is 80mg.
In mitigation, Andrew Cogan told magistrates that Taylor – who had one previous drink-driving offence on his record at the time – currently runs a bed and breakfast on the outskirts of Colkirk with his partner.
The solicitor said that at the time of his offence, Taylor was returning from a shopping trip to Morrisons in Fakenham, where he had been purchasing the likes of bread and milk for the business.
A series of mental health issues which have been affecting him “for a long period of time” then took hold of him during the return trip. At this point, Mr Cogan said, the defendant had “not had a drop to drink”.
“He was suffering a very serious bout of depression at the roadside, so he felt the only way to deal with it, as he put to me, was to neck a couple of bottles of wine,” Mr Cogan said.
“What he was going to do was, having consumed the couple of bottles of wine, walk back to the farmhouse to explain where he had been and why he hadn’t got the shopping.”
The solicitor said the real difficulties which would come from any driving ban for Taylor would actually be suffered by his partner, who cannot drive himself due to a health condition.
Mr Cogan therefore argued that handing Taylor penalty points would be a more suitable punishment.
He added: “He says, ‘I just want this over and done with – I just need to know what my future is’.
“He has been sober for the past six months, so clearly whatever he is doing is working.”
Magistrates, led by Paul Redhead, ultimately agreed, and added ten points to his licence.
Taylor was also fined £330, and will pay a £132 victim surcharge and £105 in legal costs.