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Man who went to get gas because friend’s son was cold was over drink drive limit and uninsured

Police stopped the car after it revved as it was turning a corner

Drink-driving Armagh courthouse

An Armagh man who was caught drink driving whilst on his way to get gas after his friend’s son complained of being cold has been disqualified for 18 months.

Court heard the 31-year-old admitted to police upon being stopped that he also did not hold a licence or insurance.

Michael Joseph Killen, of Killuney Drive, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol, taking a vehicle without authority, no licence and no insurance at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Court heard that on March 9, at 9.50pm, police spotted a Vauxhall Vectra on Ashley Avenue, Armagh.

They stopped the car after it revved as it was turning a corner.

Officers spoke to the defendant, who was the driver, and noted a smell of intoxicating liquor.

A preliminary breath test was carried out resulting in a reading of 58mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

As police spoke to Killen he disclosed that he had no insurance or licence and had taken the car without the owner’s permission.

He said his friend who owned the car was asleep and he had taken it to get gas.

The defendant was arrested and taken to Dungannon Custody Suite, where a second test resulted in a reading of 61mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

Defence barrister Patrick Taggart stated: “This man’s last drink driving incident dates back to 2006 which passes the 10-year rule.

“He is currently of no fixed abode and has said his current community service is all but complete, after working with the NSPCC.”

He said: “This has been a tough time for Mr Killen” with family issues cited and “the breakdown of a long term relationship”.

“At this time he was residing with a friend whose son was very cold in the house and he had gone to get gas.”

Mr Taggart stated: “He made the decision to drive, he did not believe himself to be over the limit but he was.”

District Judge Peter Magill said: “You have entered a plea of guilty, for which you will be given credit. I am not going to send you to prison but you have to be disqualified.”

Killen was handed an 18-month disqualification and was ordered to pay a fine of £250, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 26 weeks.

For the offence of taking a vehicle without authority, the defendant was given a conditional discharge.

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