Learn from my mistake - drink driver's advice

PUBLISHED: 11:42 24 November 2009 | UPDATED: 00:35 16 June 2010

A SOUTHLEIGH plumber has been disqualified from driving and ordered to pay compensation after he injured a woman while driving twice over the legal alcohol limit.

A SOUTHLEIGH plumber has been disqualified from driving and ordered to pay compensation after he injured a woman while driving twice over the legal alcohol limit.

Jason Shaun Richards, 31, was ordered to pay £750, including £300 in compensation, after he hit another car - grazing the driver who had been stepping out of the vehicle.

The court heard Richards, of Hillyfield Road, stopped a half mile up the road and said: "I'm sorry, I'm pissed. Did I hurt anybody?"

Chairman of the bench Sheila Margaret said: "It could have been far more serious as you are well aware. We understand that you are remorseful about it and realise what could have happened. However, you have to take the consequences."

In a statement, the victim said she could have been killed had she stepped fully outside the vehicle. She said what had appeared to be minor injuries, such as grazes to her legs, had had caused her continued pain. Richards, who had been driving his girlfriend's car and was not insured, also caused her financial burden as she had to hire a car.

In mitigation, Mark Kendall said Richards, who was crying and shaking in the dock, was of previous good character.

He said: "He is genuinely contrite and remorseful about his actions."

He explained that Richards had met his boss at a wine bar in Honiton to collect his money, and had stupidly had a number of drinks and then drove. He added that, due to the disqualification of 18 months, which can be reduced with a driver's rehabilitation course, he would have to look for work locally.

He said Richards had initially been aware that he had hit the car, but not that anyone was in it. He added that he intended to walk back to the scene when he was stopped by the victim's partner.

Richards told the Herald after the hearing: "I've been shaken up since the accident and relieved it's all over - but I can't get the [victim's] family out of my head. I would say it's a lesson to other drivers not to drink and drive."

He added that he would now struggle to see his son, who does not live locally.


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