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Woman in collision over twice legal alcohol limit with six-year-old daughter in car

'You were prepared to kill your own daughter'

Craigavon Court

A Portadown woman was caught driving whilst more than twice the legal limit with her six-year-old child in the car in the middle of the afternoon.

And the 36-year-old has been banned from driving for a year after she admitted driving with excess alcohol in her breath and driving without due care or attention.

Craigavon Magistrates’ Court heard on Friday that on August 1, at around 3.30pm, police were called to a road traffic collision on Jervis Street, Portadown.

The defendant, Suzanne De Groot, of Lisnisky Walk, who requires aids when walking, admitted to drinking rum the night before as well as after the incident.

One driver told the officers how the defendant had collided with her vehicle, adding that De Groot smelled of alcohol and was unsteady when walking.

A female passenger who was in the defendant’s car stated: “I wouldn’t have got in the car if I thought she was drunk.”

Police collected an evidential sample from De Groot which gave a reading of 74mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath – the legal limit is 35mg.

Court also heard that the defendant’s six-year-old daughter was in the car at the time.

District Judge Bernie Kelly told her: “You were prepared to kill your own daughter.”

Defence solicitor John McAtamney explained De Groot had hit the other vehicle as she was manoeuvring to park her own car.

He said it had been a “low speed, low impact, low damage collision”.

Mr McAtamney said the defendant accepted that she had taken alcohol the night before and “should not have been behind the wheel”.

Judge Kelly questioned this saying: “How much alcohol must she have taken to still be over the limit at that time of day?”

The solicitor said De Groot had been drinking rum and admitted to “some post-incident consumption”.

It was heard that the defendant’s mobility problems surfaced around a year ago, no answer was yet found but De Groot was currently undergoing neurological investigation and was medicated.

Judge Kelly told the remarked: “Half past three in the afternoon, twice the legal limit with your six-year-old daughter in the vehicle – this is alcohol abuse.

“Unless it says consume with copious amounts of alcohol on your medication.”

De Groot was banned from driving for 12 months and ordered to pay a fine of £375, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 16 weeks.

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