Belfast Telegraph

Drink-driving Northern Ireland transplant man 'was on way home to get heart pills he'd forgotten'

By George Jackson

A heart transplant recipient who was caught drink-driving on his wedding anniversary last month was sentenced yesterday.

Anthony Flanagan, from Crawfordsburn in Maghera, pleaded guilty at Londonderry Magistrates Court to driving with excess alcohol at the Foyle Embankment in the city on December 28.

A solicitor for the Public Prosecution Service told District Judge Stephen Keown that the car 56-year-old Flanagan was driving collided with a roundabout.

The incident was witnessed by members of a passing police mobile patrol, who stopped the defendant and smelled alcohol on his breath.

When officers breathalysed him, he was found to be twice the legal limit.

Defence barrister Brendan Kearney said Flanagan came to Derry with his wife to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

Mr Kearney told the court his client consumed four units of alcohol before remembering he had left his heart medication at home.

The barrister said Flanagan then foolishly decided to drive back to Maghera, accompanied by his wife, to get his medication, which he has to take twice daily.

The court was told Flanagan underwent heart transplant surgery in a hospital in Newcastle, England, two years ago.

Since the procedure, he has travelled to Newcastle four times a year to undergo follow-up treatment.

Mr Kearney told the hearing Flanagan's wife was with him in the car when it was stopped by the police.

She had been unable to drive the vehicle because she was only qualified to drive an automatic.

The District Judge fined Flanagan £300 and disqualified him from driving for 16 months.

Belfast Telegraph

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