Drink driver Carlisle used alcohol to ‘numb’ back pain

The court heard that a motorist who was caught drinking was using alcohol to “numb the pain” of his spinal condition.

That explanation didn’t save 45-year-old John Williams from the driving ban when he appeared before judges in Carlisle Recreation Court, where he admitted to driving under the influence and driving while he had no insurance.

The court heard that the defendant, of Lansdowne Crescent, Stanwix, Carlisle, was arrested on Ullswater Road, Penrith, after police spotted him driving his Volvo to a gas station on June 26.

Prosecutor Pam Ward said police decided to speak to the accused after a check showed he was uninsured.

When they spoke to him, the officers immediately noticed that there was a strong smell of alcohol and decided to take a roadside breath test.

This confirmed that the defendant ingested 71 micrograms of alcohol in 100 ml of breath.

The legal limit for driving is 35mcg.

Defending him, Mark Shepherd said the defendant wanted to apologize to the court for the offense he had committed.

Explaining the lack of insurance, the attorney said Williams had undergone a “horrific” divorce.

This has led to difficulties with paperwork. “He should have resolved the situation to make sure it was legal to drive because it has passed,” Mr Shepherd said.

The lawyer continued, “As far as drunk driving is concerned, he has no excuse for that. He said he was heading to Penrith to see his ex-wife. He has serious spinal problems.

He underwent major spinal surgery ten years ago that left him with major and lasting complications. He will be going to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough in two weeks.

“He spends most nights with pain and doesn’t sleep properly – so much so that he drinks to numb the physical pain he’s in.

“This pain has affected the defendant so much that he has had to stop doing his regular job. He is now at a point where he is looking to rebuild.”

The defendant’s case was such that he carried an A&E card with him confirming that he would need an operation within 48 hours if he developed certain symptoms.

The court heard that the defendant’s last conviction was for failing to provide a sample to the police 16 years ago.

The judges imposed a fine of £326, £150 in victim surcharge and £85. They had a 19-month ban, but offered a drinking driver rehabilitation course which if completed could reduce the ban by 19 weeks.

For more information about the help available for those with back pain, you should visit the website for Back care.

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