Binge drink driver pleaded not to be jailed

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court

A "binge drinker," who caused a head-on car smash after being over the limit for the third time, sobbed as she begged a court not to jail her.

Mother-of-one Stella Walshe (52) was more than three times the limit when she was breath-tested after the crash at 9-30am on a Sunday.

Walshe, who says she had had two bottles of wine the night before, had lost her father last August and was on the way to the cemetery when she hit a Ford Transit van in Rossendale Road, Burnley. She caused extensive damage to both vehicles, but no injuries to anybody, the town's magistrates heard.

Aerospace firm worker Walshe broke down as she told the Bench she was a "good person," and how alcohol acted like an "anaesthetic" for things that had happened in her past.

She sobbed: "I'm remorseful. It's just been a difficult last year, but I know it's no excuse for what I did. It's unforgivable. I could have killed someone. I know I deserve punishment. I would hate to go to prison. I will do anything. I will sweep the flipping streets. Please don't send me to prison. My mum needs me."

The defendant, who has already served bans of 20 months and three years, has now been ordered off the road for five years - but was spared prison - after the latest incident, last December 10th. She had appeared in court for the case four days before, but it had had to be adjourned because she was drunk.

Walshe, of Rosegrove Lane, Burnley, admitted driving with excess alcohol. She received eight weeks in custody, suspended for a year, with a 12-month community order and a 30- day rehabilitation activity requirement. She must pay £85 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.

Prosecutor Mrs Tracy Yates said police attended the collision and spoke to the defendant , who had been driving a Peugeot.

At the roadside she blew 111 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath and at the police station gave a sample showing 103 microgrammes. The legal limit is 35.

Probation officer Mr Elliott Smith said Walshe, who earned a £20,000 a year working at an aerospace company, had reduced her drinking since the offence. He added :"She is very remorseful, very emotional."