Drink-driver who drove wrong way down M4 escapes prison sentence

·Contributor, Yahoo News UK
A man has been handed two suspended sentences for driving down the M4 while twice the legal limit (WILTSHIRE POLICE/GETTY)
A man has been handed two suspended sentences for driving down the M4 while twice the legal limit (WILTSHIRE POLICE/GETTY)

A drink-driver who drove into oncoming motorway traffic while twice the legal limit has been spared jail.

Christopher Duggan, of Swindon, was stopped by police near Membury road services in February, after driving in the wrong direction along the hard shoulder of the westbound carriageway ‘with complete disregard’.

A police breathalyser test showed 82 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

The amount is more than twice the legal limit of 35 microgrammes.

Christopher Duggan, 27, escaped jail with a 10-month suspended sentence for dangerous driving, a one month suspended sentence for drink-driving and an 18 month driving ban (WILTSHIRE POLICE)
Christopher Duggan, 27, escaped jail with a 10-month suspended sentence for dangerous driving, a one month suspended sentence for drink-driving and an 18 month driving ban (WILTSHIRE POLICE)

Duggan, 27, appeared at Swindon Crown Court earlier in the week and was charged with dangerous driving and drink-driving. He pleaded guilty to both offences.

On Friday, he was given a 10-month suspended sentence for dangerous driving, and a one-month suspended sentence for drink-driving.

The defendant was also handed an 18-month driving ban and was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid community service.

He was also fined £600 in prosecution costs, ordered to pay a £140 victim surcharge and will have to complete an extended driving test to be granted his licence after the ban.

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On February 3, 2019, PC Jay Clifton was in a marked police car at junction 16, when he spotted Duggan’s Saab 900 at around 5am and decided to follow him.

He alerted other officers while he trailed Duggan from the opposite direction side of the road, before he attempted to intercept the driver on the westbound carriageway.

But Duggan then drove at high speed directly towards PC Clifton’s car, before leaving the M4 at junction 15.

But the driver went through a second no-entry sign on an exit slip road and rejoined the motorway – head-on against the flow of traffic.

Police described the drink-driving incident on the busy M4 as ‘terrifying’ (GETTY)
Police described the drink-driving incident on the busy M4 as ‘terrifying’ (GETTY)

PC Clifton said: ‘It was one of the most terrifying experiences of my 16 years working in traffic – and one of the worst examples of driving I have ever seen.

‘He drove directly at me and other members of the public with a complete disregard for his own life and that of other road users around him.’

Angus Macpherson of the Wiltshire and Swindon PCC said: ‘No one should be misled by this court result. In most cases like this – drink drive offences coupled with such dangerous driving – result in a prison sentence and rightly so.’

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