The TUI air hostess found drunk at wheel of her car in pyjamas at 4.30am after 'four or five' cans of lager... but is CLEARED of any wrongdoing

Natasha Galletley an air hostess found drunk at the wheel of her car at 4.30am has been cleared of any wrongdoing
Natasha Galletley is an air hostess from Sandbach -Credit:Natasha Galletley/ Cavendish Press (Manchester) LTD

An air hostess found drunk at the wheel of her car at 4.30am has been cleared of any wrongdoing after claiming she had been sitting in the vehicle to keep warm whilst mourning a friend on the anniversary of their death.

Natasha Galletley, 34 who was dressed in her pyjamas, fluffy socks and a dressing gown tested almost twice the alcohol limit when police found her asleep in the driver's seat of her Nissan Qashqai after she had consumed almost five cans of Budweiser beer.

It took officers several attempts to wake the TUI flight attendant from her stupor and they said she appeared ''confused'' and was ''swaying from side to side'' as she being quizzed. She was subsequently charged with being drunk in charge of a motor vehicle and faced a possible road ban, a £2,500 fine and up to three months in jail.

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But in court Miss Galletley was found not guilty of the charge after convincing magistrates she had stopped off to have ''time to herself'' to reminisce over her late friend, had been drinking beer whilst both stood outside and sat inside the stationary Nissan and had intended walking the six minute journey home. Magistrates in Chester said her evidence was ''honest and credible.''

The incident occurred on January 15 this year after Miss Galletley, of Mill Hill Drive in Sandbach, Cheshire, had been to visit a friend known only as Sarah. She told the hearing: “We were going to Iceland on holiday two days later and I went round in my pyjamas - it is the usual thing for us to do.

“We sat and watched some films and had some snacks and pizza and we talked about our upcoming holiday to Iceland and about the anniversary of our friend’s death. We had also lost grandparents and some pets have been put down, so the conversation got a bit upsetting.

“About midnight Sarah said she was going to go to bed so I left. I had not had anything to drink but I did not feel ready to go home as I was upset and I wanted some time to myself. I do not really have the option at home as I still live with my parents so I decided I to drive to the layby and park up the car before going to a swing gate where me and my friend used to spend a lot of time.

“I wanted time to myself, time to process, to reminisce. I was emotional at that point. When I was at my friend’s house the conversation ended abruptly and I felt that I wanted to think about it and talk about it. I was in an emotional state and I thought ‘I can have some time to myself - I'm close enough to walk home'.

“I had my air plugs on listening to music, just having some time to myself and the car was parked up. A couple of hours later, my air plugs died and I was getting cold so I sat in the car to listen to the rest of a podcast, finish the beer then get myself ready to go home, lock the car up for the night and go home. I was more tired than I thought I was so I fell asleep.”

-Credit:Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror
-Credit:Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror

Miss Galletley said she had parked the car deliberately close to a fence in the layby because she'd been planning to leave it there overnight and said she out of the car for about two hours before getting back inside.

She added: “The automatic lights come on in the car when I turn it on so when I got in I turned them off. The seatbelt was not put on and the seat was retracted back away from the steering wheel, for comfort and just to be warm as I listened to the end of my podcast, about 20 or 30 minutes of it. I turned the engine on for the heat and the power to the phone.

“When I drive I have to have the seat completely forward. I would have walked home and gone to bed. I go for regular walks down to the canal and near where the car was parked. My plan was to go for a walk later, and take the car home. I just wanted peace and solitude. just wanted to be alone.”

Earlier police said Galletley blew 59 micrograms of alcohol in 100 milllitres of breath, the legal limit being 35mg.

In a statement the arresting officer PC Gardener said: ''I saw the car parked in a layby in an isolated position and the defendant sat in the driver seat. PC Holdcroft opened the door and the cockpit to the vehicle was warm. The defendant was asleep in the vehicle with a can of lager in her hand. It took multiple attempts to rouse her from sleep.

“She appeared very confused and disoriented when asked why she was asleep in the car. She appeared drunk and was swaying from side to side whilst sat in the car with a strong smell of beer in the car. She said she wanted to be out of her current household.''

Natasha Galletley an air hostess found drunk at the wheel of her car at 4.30am has been cleared of any wrongdoing
Natasha Galletley has been cleared of any wrongdoing -Credit:Natasha Galletley/ Cavendish Press (Manchester) LTD

Her family member was hard of hearing. She said she wanted to be away from the loud noise of the TV.

Andrew Sinker prosecuting questioned why Miss Galletley got back in her car instead of walking home and claimed she had intended to drive after she woke up.

He added: ''In her interview with police she said she got in the car to warm up and that is why the heater was on. She had been at a friend’s house and they talked about a friend who had passed away and she stopped in the layby said there was a lake nearby where she and her friend used to sit at a place in the area.

“She said she had some beers that were left over from Christmas and was going to walk home. She said she got in the car and put the heater on and must have fallen asleep by the heat. She said she had had four or five cans of lager before getting in the car and had no intention to drive the vehicle. She said she was there to warm up before walking home.

“She said she could see how it looked like she was in charge of the vehicle. I would suggest that her account is not particularly credible.''

But Miss Galletley's lawyer Mr Chris Hunt said: ''She is entitled to a good character direction because she's never been in trouble before. Not only is it less likely that she has committed this offence, but it is also less likely that she is going to be lying as well. Her account has been entirely consistent with what she said to police in a matter of hours after being arrested.

“It is stretching credibility that she would cook up such an elaborate story. She is no liar. That has the mark of truth about it.''

In clearing Miss Galletley, JP Jane Davies told her: “We found your evidence honest and credible. We took into account your good character in life so far. We do not believe you had the intention to drive that night.''