A DRINK driver was ‘not acting rationally’ when she drove a short distance to deal with a medical emergency, a court heard.

Kerry Bennett, of Kirk Flatt in Great Urswick, pleaded guilty at the first opportunity to drink driving when she appeared at South Cumbria Magistrates’ Court in Barrow.

Prosecutor Peter Kelly said Bennett was standing outside her Vauxhall Mokka on Church Road in Great Urswick around 5:30 pm on May 3 when police arrived at the scene.

The court heard officers asked the 40-year-old defendant to conduct a roadside breath test for analysis which came back positive for excess alcohol.

She was arrested at the scene and provided two further samples of breath in custody.

The court was told the lowest reading provided to the police was 124 microgrammes in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

Mr Kelly added Bennett was a person of good character having no previous convictions on her record.

In mitigation, her legal representative Richard Silver, a specialist solicitor in driving and traffic offences, said his client had driven between 200-300 yards in a panic on a quiet road.

Mr Silver told magistrates: “She has been driving for 20 years and has never accrued any penalty points. This is a very isolated lapse borne out of the defendant’s own health conditions.

“The only reason she has been charged with this offence is because she owned up at the police station. The police did not see her driving.

“She drove on a quiet road from her home address to her friend for a health emergency to see whether he could assist with a situation.

“This is an unusual case where she was not acting rationally. She has expressed remorse and is genuinely ashamed and embarrassed.

“She is well thought of in her job and takes it very seriously - often working 60 hours per week.  

“A driving disqualification is going to have a serious impact on her ability in getting to work in Barrow. She is going to have to rely on her father to help her with transportation.

“This was a one-minute lapse of concentration which is going to have significant consequences for a significant amount of time.”

The chair of the bench commented the reading was one of the highest he had ever seen.

Magistrates fined Bennett £326 and imposed a 12-month community order with two requirements of completing 10 rehabilitation requirement days and a three-month alcohol treatment requirement.

She was also disqualified from driving for 29 months and ordered to pay court costs of £85 and a £114 surcharge.

Magistrates offered the defendant the opportunity to complete a drink driving rehabilitation course, which if completed, would reduce the length of ban by 29 weeks.