Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

Northern Ireland drunk driver found asleep in car outside police station

By Nevin Farrell

This is the dozy drink driver found asleep at the wheel of a car parked outside a police station with its lights on.

Castlerock man Stephen Simpson had been parked outside the Coleraine cop shop for 45 minutes in a stolen VW Golf in the early hours of April Fool's Day when officers knocked on the window.

Officers had to knock several times before the snoozing 28-year-old awoke and his breath smelt strongly of booze, a court heard last week.

Simpson, who did not even have a driving licence, was spared jail but was hit with a four-month suspended sentence after he confessed to a string of "foolish and mad" offences committed when he was more than three times over the legal alcohol limit for driving.

He had a reading of 120 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit being 35 microgrammes.

A prosecutor told Coleraine Magistrates Court that at 1.55am on April 1 police officers went to a vehicle opposite Coleraine police station which had been there for 45 minutes with its lights on.

The driver was asleep at the wheel with the keys in the ignition and there was damage to the car.

The lawyer said police took several attempts to waken Simpson.

He added the defendant would not co-operate with police, but it emerged it was not Simpson's car and he had no licence.

Coleraine PSNI station

District Judge Liam McNally said it was a "very high reading".

Defence solicitor Paddy McGurk said Simpson had been in a bar in the Castlerock area and had gone to the vehicle owner's house.

The lawyer said the vehicle owner fell asleep and, although his client's recollection was extremely limited, he had taken the vehicle out.

Mr McGurk said the "foolishness and madness" was highlighted by the vehicle parking outside the police station.

The lawyer said Simpson was appalled when police later told him the details.

"He is thankful nothing more serious occurred," added Mr McGurk.

At Monday's court, Simpson, of Freehall Park, pleaded guilty to charges of driving with excess alcohol in his breath as well as aggravated taking away and causing damage to a vehicle.

He also admitted resisting police and driving without either a licence or insurance.

Judge McNally said it was a bad case with a very high reading which crossed the custody threshold and he imposed a four months jail term, suspended for two years.

He also banned Simpson from driving for 18 months and slapped him with fines totalling £400.

Belfast Telegraph


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