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Court told Armagh drink driver was using ‘alcohol as a crutch’ after her ‘very difficult year’

Defendant took alcohol at friend's house and 'make a foolish decision to drive home'

Drink-driving Armagh courthouse

An Armagh woman who used “alcohol as a crutch” following the loss of twins has been handed a 16-month disqualification for drink driving.

The defendant’s solicitor told court that 2018 had been a very difficult year for the 26-year-old, who lost a pregnancy when expecting twins and had a relationship breakdown.

Sarah Jane Teggart, of Edenaveys Crescent, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Court heard that on January 6, at 12.05am, police stopped a Seat vehicle in the Callanbridge area of Armagh due to the manner of its driving.

Officers spoke to the defendant, the driver of the vehicle in question, noting that her speech was slurred and her eyes were heavy.

Teggart was cautioned for the offence of driving with excess alcohol and replied “Yep”.

A breathalyser was conducted in custody which gave a reading of 78mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

Defence solicitor Jarlaith Fields stated: “This is a woman who works full time; she was given time in order to get her affairs in order and has found work closer to home.

“2018 was a very difficult year for Ms Teggart, she lost a pregnancy of which she was expecting twins and saw the breakdown of her relationship.”

He added: “Since this, she has endured what she has described as harassment from those who previously interfered in her relationship and had suffered from depression.

“She had been using alcohol as a crutch.”

Mr Fields said: “On the night in question Ms Teggart had gone to a friend’s house. This was not a party but she did end up consuming alcohol and made a foolish decision to drive home.”

District Judge Peter King stated: “This is a plea but you were more than twice the legal limit and have eight previous convictions although none for drink driving.”

Teggart was handed a 16-month disqualification and ordered to pay a fine of £300, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 20 weeks.

She was certified for the drink driving course which could see her ban reduced by as much as one quarter.

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