Mother's 23-Mile Wrong-Way Motorway Drive

A mother of three who drove 23 miles the wrong way along a motorway while twice the drink-drive limit has been jailed for nine months.

Deborah Hunt, 43, performed a u-turn and drove down the fast lane of the M5.

Her journey - in which she dodged oncoming vehicles before coming to a halt on the hard shoulder - was captured by traffic cameras.

She wept in the dock as Judge Mark Horton said he would be failing in his public duty if he did not jail her immediately.

Hunt, of Langport, Somerset, was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court after admitting dangerous driving, driving with excess alcohol and driving without insurance.

The court heard the former financial adviser was suffering from alcoholism and stress caused by her unemployment and a battle with her ex-husband over custody of their children.

But Judge Horton said it was "unbelievably fortunate" no one had been killed or injured by her as she drove at 60mph in the dark after 11pm on July 14.

The court heard she got on to the motorway at junction 24 in northern Somerset and briefly headed south before stunning other drivers by turning round and driving north.

She was found by police on the hard shoulder near junction 21, where she was struggling to restart the engine of her partner's Peugeot 806.

"You drove for something in excess of 20 miles on the wrong side of the road, causing terror in members of the public lawfully using the motorway to travel in the right direction," Judge Horton told a sobbing Hunt.

"You risked causing massive loss of life and huge destruction of property. You suffer from a severe illness, alcoholism is a severe illness.

"It is clear that the combination of the stress and alcoholism you have suffered created an extremely dangerous position, culminating in this offence.

"I would be failing in my duty if I did not reflect the seriousness of what you did by imposing an immediate custodial sentence."

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