Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Driver Five Times over Limit; Outrage as Alcoholic Motorist Avoids Prison Sentence

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Driver Five Times over Limit; Outrage as Alcoholic Motorist Avoids Prison Sentence

Article excerpt

Byline: SARA NICHOL

A SOFT sentence storm erupted today after a motorist avoided jail despite admitting driving while a staggering five times over the limit.

Magistrates refused to lock up Simon Maddison who was caught behind the wheel of his car having downed the potentially deadly amount of booze. In one of the highest readings in the North East, Maddison narrowly escaped prison, but the decision sparked a complaint from anti-drink drive campaigners.

The 45-year-old was caught by police when he drove along Chillingham Road, in Heaton, Newcastle, in the early hours of the morning without headlights on.

And when unemployed Maddison was pulled over, he told officers: "It's about time I got caught, I've been drinking a load of vodka."

He was arrested and taken to a nearby police station, where he gave a shocking reading of 176micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath, the legal limit being 35micrograms.

Alcohol-ic Maddison, of Reid Park Road, Jesmond, Newcastle, narrowly avoided prison after he pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol at Newcastle Magistrates' Court.

Instead he was given a four-month jail term, suspended for 12 months and was banned from the roads for three years.

Chairing magistrate Sue Sinton said she was shocked by the reading. She said: "We're dealing with a matter today, which arises from an incident on December 10, 2012, when you were found to be driving with excess alcohol.

"The reading was 176micrograms, one of the highest readings we have had in this court, if not the highest. In fact, it's off the scale. We believe it's so serious that custody is justified.

"The only reason we're not activating a custodial sentence today is because we believe our job is to protect the public and sending you to prison isn't the way to do it.

"We believe you need help with your alcohol problems."

Maddison was stopped by police at around 12.45am when they spotted him driving without headlights on Chillingham Road and then struggle to drive round the roundabout with Shields Road. …

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