Drunk on two-day bender flipped mum's car on way back from shopping trip

Alcoholic Nigel McDermott flipped his mum's car after taking it without her permission to drive to the shop. The 45-year-old was on his way home with his partner in the front passenger seat when he lost control of the vehicle on a slip road to the A500 at 7.30pm on October 17 last year.

An off duty police officer was first on the scene and saw a woman walk away from the car and the defendant climb out of the vehicle. He noticed a bottle of alcohol in the back of the car and a special constable saw McDermott drinking from it.

Officers noticed his speech was slurred, he was unsteady on his feet and his eyes were glazed. He was later breathalysed in custody and gave a reading of 118 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, more than three times the legal limit of 35.

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Now McDermott has been banned from the roads for 28 months and hit with a £634 court bill at North Staffordshire Justice Centre. Prosecutor Hannah Baddeley said police carried out checks which showed McDermott held a provisional licence and was not named on the insurance policy.

The roadside breath test could not be carried out as the machine had run out of battery. Miss Baddeley said: "The vehicle had been taken without his mother's consent. She had been in the garden. When she came in she noticed the vehicle had been taken. She had not given permission at any point for him to take the vehicle.

"The passenger complained of pain in her foot but she was discharged by paramedics and did not require any further treatment.

"He was breathalysed in custody and gave a reading of 118 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, against the legal limit of 35."

In his police interview McDermott said he was sorry for his actions. He went to his mum's address and he took the keys from the kitchen cupboard. He said she did not give him permission to take the car but he did so anyway.

He says he had been drinking for two consecutive days. He admitted driving at speed. He believed it was because he was drunk and driving at speed that he hit the grass verge, which caused the car to flip. He said he did not drink inside the car but had drunk before and had one drink as he got out the car.

McDermott, of Jenkins Street, Burslem, pleaded guilty to drink-driving; aggravated vehicle taking, driving without insurance and driving without a licence.

David Ellis, mitigating, said McDermott was the subject of a suspended jail sentence when he committed the offences. He said: "He has, under the direction of the probation service, sought help with alcohol issues.

"At the time McDermott was drinking up to, and probably more than, a bottle of vodka a day. He has reduced that down to about four cans of lager or beer a day. He is reducing it down rather than going cold turkey. At the time he was drinking more than he ought to have done.

"They were going out to do some shopping and stupidly he took the keys and went in the car to the shop. They did the shopping. It was on the way back to his parents' that the incident occurred. His girlfriend broke her toe when she got out of the vehicle. He apologises for his behaviour."

McDermott was sentenced to an 18-month community order with a six month alcohol treatment requirement, a thinking skills programme and a rehabilitation activity requirement for 15 days.

He was fined £120 and was ordered to pay £400 compensation to his mum and a £114 surcharge. His ban will be reduced by 28 weeks if he completes a drink-drivers' rehabilitation course.

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