Drink-driver struggling to cope with family tragedy

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court

A drink-driver who had turned to alcohol to cope with family tragedy has been banned for 40 months after being caught a second time.

Christopher Harrison had lost his two brothers and his father and had been trying to deal with his grief, a court was told.

Burnley magistrates heard how Harrison was almost three times the limit when he was involved in a crash with two other vehicles, on Elliott Street, in the town. He was seen walking away from his vehicle and a half-empty bottle of wine was left in a garden.

Mrs Alex Mann (prosecuting) said: "He was spoken to by police and said it would have been him driving the car and he must have put the bottle there."

The hearing was told the defendant blew 91 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Harrison, of Chipping Grove, Burnley, admitted driving with excess alcohol, failing to stop after an accident and no test certificate.

The 33-year-old was given an eight week curfew, seven days a week, between 9pm and 6am. He had a previous drink-driving conviction from 2010.

Miss Janet Sime (defending) said Harrison was fortunate he wasn't injured and didn't injure anybody else.

Miss Sime said Harrison lost one brother 10 years ago and his other one just last September. His dad died in May. The defendant had moved back in with his mum.

"He has started to turn to drink to help him cope with the grief and the pressure of everything the family has been through. It's been a very difficult package for him to deal with."

Miss Sime said the defendant had been to Inspire ( the alcohol treatment service ) and had been offered grief counselling.