Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland man banned from driving until he is 90

By Paul Higgins

A Co Down man with a long history of drink-driving will not be allowed behind the wheel of a car again until he is 90, a judge has ordered.

Lawrence Murdock (75)  from Moss Road in Drumbo would "have to win the lottery to get an insurance quote", District Judge Mark Hamill told Newtownards Magistrates Court.

Mr Hamill said it was "unbelievable" how the pensioner had managed to avoid going to jail despite having a series convictions for drink-driving and driving while banned.

Having heard that Murdock had not reoffended since he deferred passing sentence a year ago, Mr Hamill said he would do as promised and impose a five-month jail sentence, but suspend it for three years.

Murdock will have to reach 90 years of age before he can drive again, as Mr Hamill also banned him from driving for 15 years, after revealing the pensioner has eight previous convictions for driving while disqualified and nine convictions for drink-driving.

"Your driving career is over, get that into your head," declared the judge.

"I cannot quite grasp how you have avoided prison - but I can absolutely assure you that if you come back for driving offences you will not escape prison."

At an earlier hearing Murdock had pleaded guilty to driving while banned, driving without insurance and obstructing a constable on June 16 last year.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court how police stopped and spoke to the driver of a Mercedes car on the Upper Knockbreda Road. However, follow-up checks revealed the driver had given false details and that he was in fact Murdock, who was a disqualified driver.

When that was put to him the pensioner made full admissions.

Defence solicitor Mark Campbell confirmed that Murdock had been banned from the roads for 12 years in 2005 but since his last offence in 2011, "there's been nothing in the last six years".

He said the offending stemmed from an alcohol problem Murdock developed following the breakdown of his marriage.

Imposing the suspended sentence, driving ban and fining Murdock £250, Mr Hamill told the pensioner he had an "appalling" record which meant "you will have to win the lottery to get an insurance quote".

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