'Death on wheels' Herefordshire drunk driver dodges prison

First published in News

A DRUNK driver, described as “death on wheels”, was arrested while rushing home to make his court-imposed curfew, Hereford Magistrates Court heard.

Joseph Locke, of Cherrybrook Close, Hope under Dinmore, blew three times over the legal limit when breathalysed after being pulled over on the A49 on March 1.

He had, the court heard, been driving to ensure he was home for a 10.30pm curfew imposed on him on Valentine's Day following a conviction for assault, after beating and kicking a woman with children present.

Acting on a tip off from a member of the public, officers pulled over the 39-year-old.

They found him unsteady on his feet and slurring his words, Peter Love, prosecuting, told the court.

"You recorded a tremendously high rate," said head magistrate Lavinia Sole.

"You were death on wheels."

It was the fourth time since 1996 he had been convicted of a drink-related driving offence.

However, despite admitting that the offence would activate a five-month suspended sentence for the assault, Locke was not sent to prison.

Phillip Cornell, defending, insisted that with the drink driving offence coming so soon after the community order had been issued, work with the probation service “had not had time to bite”.

Locke pleaded guilty to the drink driving offence, as well as driving the Ford Mondeo without third party insurance.

He was handed a two-year driving ban and a total of £245 in fines, to be added to an existing total and taken out of his Employment and Support Allowance benefit.

Magistrates also placed Locke on a compulsory Alcohol Impaired Drivers course.

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