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Social worker drove to police station for inquiry almost four times drink drive limit

Defendant resigned from her job day after offence

Craigavon-Courthouse

A Lurgan woman who drove to the local police station to inquire about someone in custody was almost four times the legal limit, a court has heard.

The 44-year-old former social worker, gave a reading of 124mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath and was handed a 12-month driving ban.

Elizabeth O’Neill, of Belvedere Manor, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Court heard on July 19 at around 9.50pm police saw the defendant get out of a cream-coloured Mini before approaching Lurgan PSNI Station.

O’Neill appeared intoxicated and was carrying her car keys as she enquired about the wellbeing of someone inside.

A preliminary breath test was carried out which O’Neill failed, and a second test showed that she had 124mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

Defence counsel stated the defendant had been driving for 25 years and had no record.

She explained that on this night O’Neill had been at a work function at the Ashburn Hotel and had got a taxi home.

She continued saying the defendant had been woken from her sleep by a text from her daughter saying that her boyfriend had got in an accident and had been taken to Lurgan police station.

Defence counsel stated O’Neill had foolishly decided to go to the station as she was worried about her daughter’s boyfriend, who suffers from a speech impediment.

Court heard the defendant resigned from her job as a social worker the day after this offence.

District Judge Bernie Kelly stated: “What would she feel like if she killed someone, getting behind the wheel with that kind of reading is the most selfish act you can commit.

“Boyfriends come and go, but human lives are around for as long as we can possibly have them.”

Judge Kelly also commented: “This is one of the highest readings I have come across in a long time- nearly four times the legal limit.”

O’Neill was disqualified from driving for 12 months and ordered to pay a fine of £350, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 16 weeks.

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