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By Beth Sharp Thursday 05 June 2014 Updated: 05/06 23:45
A REDNAL man found to be almost four times the drink-drive limit when he was stopped by police has narrowly avoided jail.
Shocked magistrates told John Phillip Price, of Rednal Mill Drive, it was one of the highest readings they had ever passed sentence on, saying they were surprised he could walk, let alone drive.
The 61-year-old, who pleaded guilty to driving under the influence at Redditch Magistrates' Court on Wednesday (June 4), was pulled over on April 27 after he was reported by another motorist for his erratic driving.
When he was tested at the roadside on Coldfield Drive, Redditch,he had 132 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of his breath. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres.
Ian Paterson, defending, said Price suffered with depression for many years and since separating from his wife in February had turned to drink when he felt down.
The court heard how on the day of the incident Price had gone around to his family home to collect post and had got into an argument with his wife.
Upon returning home, feeling down, he claimed to have consumed five cans of Stella.
Noticing he had run out of milk, he drove to Tesco Extra, in Redditch, as it was the only place open.
As a result of ill health he was planning to retire next week, after working as carpenter and joiner for more than 40 years.
The court also heard how Price, who had been drinking more than four times a week since separating from his wife, had not touched alcohol for four weeks and had sought counselling.
The defence also added Price regretted his actions and wasting the police and court's time.
But Sue Mitchell, Chairman or the Bench, said: "We are all experienced magistrates and we are accompanied by an experienced legal adviser and this is perhaps the highest reading any of us has dealt with.
"I think I can say for all of us we are surprised you were able to walk let alone drive.
"This level of 132 is the starting point of custody - the level of intoxication and your standard of driving, at that of time of night, was so unacceptable a member of the public felt it necessary to report you.
"This is necessary to impose a custodial sentence to demonstrate society's intolerance to drink-driving.
"In this case we find it should be a suspended order of eight weeks reduced from 12 weeks because of your guilty plea."
Price was banned from driving for two-and-a-half years and told to complete a drink impaired drivers programme.
He was also given a 12 month supervision requirement and ordered to pay £85 in costs and a £80 victim surcharge.
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