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42-month ban for drink-driver from Stamford who crashed his Mercedes

Two people who had just met a man in a pub both crashed his Mercedes as they drove him home, a court has been told.

Car owner Arthur Phillip James, who was over the limit himself, claimed that a woman ran his C220 Sport into a hedge before her male friend took over and hit a parked car in Outwell, near Wisbech.

But it was James, 37, from Stamford, who was left carrying the can after both of them then ran off.

King's Lynn Magistrates' Court (39098373)
King's Lynn Magistrates' Court (39098373)

On Thursday - 21 months after the incident on March 18 last year - he was disqualified from driving for three-and-a-half years.

Magistrates in King's Lynn convicted James, of Axiom Court, Stamford, at an earlier hearing in his absence. He had previously pleaded not guilty to drink-driving and having no insurance but failed to appear for his trial on November 16.

Prosecutor Denise Holland told yesterday's (Thursday, December 17) hearing that police asked James at the scene if he was the driver.

He replied that he was only the owner - someone else had been driving but he'd run off.

James failed a roadside test and was arrested, later giving a reading of 72 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

It also transpired that James was not insured.

The court was told that he had a previous drink-drive conviction in August 2015.

Solicitor Hugh Cauthery said James had met a Hungarian couple while drinking in a pub in Wisbech.

"He said he was drunk and couldn't drive home. They offered to drive. He was living in March at the time," added Mr Cauthery.

He said his client only knew the couple as Jane, or something similar, and Hugo.

"The female crashed into a hedge and Hugo then took over the driving and crashed into the parked car. The two of them decamped and ran away."

The Mercedes had been left in a dangerous position so James moved it into the car park of a Happy Shopper nearby.

Mr Cauthery said the insurance matter was a mistake - the defendant had taken out a policy on March 5 but for some reason it hadn't started until March 29, which was after the incident.

Magistrates at James' trial said they couldn't be sure that he had been driving at the time of the collision but he had admitted driving it into the car park.

The sentencing bench refused to offer James the chance to reduce the 42-month ban by taking a drink-driver rehabilitation course. He was fined a total of £425 and ordered to pay £620 costs and £30 victim surcharge.

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