Man who took double decker bus for drunken joy ride avoids prison sentence

Stephen McCartan outside Poole Magistrates' Court after he pleaded guilty to an offence of aggravated vehicle taking. Picture: BNPS
Stephen McCartan outside Poole Magistrates' Court after he pleaded guilty to an offence of aggravated vehicle taking. Picture: BNPS

A MAN who drunkenly drove a double decker bus and caused £6,000 of damage to the vehicle has been spared a custodial sentence by the courts.

Former soldier Stephen McCartan previously pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated vehicle taking in relation to the incident on December 27 last year.

The 52-year-old was given a deferred sentence back in May, with magistrates giving him a chance to show he could turn his life around and avoid a prison sentence.

McCartan, of Egmont Road, Poole, was back before Poole Magistrates’ Court on November 16 to be sentenced.

Deputy District Judge Clare Boichot issued the defendant with a 12-week community order, with a single requirement to comply with a curfew and be at his home between 7pm and 7am.

The defendant, a Northern Ireland veteran, was ordered to pay £500 compensation and he was disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for 18 months.

As reported, the court was previously told McCartan staggered into Poole bus station after losing his drinking companion during a night out.

In the early hours, he opened the doors of a blue and red Morebus double decker and made his way to the top deck where he fell asleep on a seat.

Bournemouth Echo:
Bournemouth Echo:

When the former Royal Engineer woke up an hour later he went down to the driver's seat and managed to start up the vehicle.

McCartan then reversed the bus out of the station, crashing into railings and a parked Fiat Panda car in the process.

He then drove towards his home at Hamworthy, via the Twin Sails Bridge, before abandoning the bus with its engine still running.

The court heard the damage to the bus and railings totalled £4,646 and the Fiat was written off with the insurance claim stating its value as £1,640.

At the time of the incident McCartan was struggling with anxiety and depression and hours before taking the bus he had taken Xanax, a fast-acting tranquiliser, to help with his anxiety.

He could hardly recall the incident and was “extremely remorseful and upset” about what happened.

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