PR boss, 49, caught drunk behind the wheel of her Mercedes as she ‘fled’ from an abusive boyfriend is handed a driving ban
- Sophie Johnston was pulled over while almost one and a half times above limit
- She claimed she was fleeing from her then lover following a violent bust up
A PR boss who was caught drunk behind the wheel of her car whilst ‘fleeing’ from an abusive boyfriend has been banned from driving.
Sophie Johnston, 49, was found to be almost one and a half times the alcohol limit after police stopped her Mercedes A180 Sport following a 999 call saying she had been drinking.
The mother-of-two claimed at the time of her arrest she had been seeking sanctuary with another ex-partner following a violent bust up with her then lover. Enquiries revealed she had been driving drunk for up to six miles before being pulled over.
A court heard the unnamed lover was later quizzed by police and is now on bail pending further inquiries. The pair have since split up.
At Chester magistrates court, Johnston, a former school governor, admitted drink driving and was disqualified for 12 months, fined £120 and ordered to pay £168 in costs and victim surcharge.
Sophie Johnston (pictured), 49, was caught drunk behind the wheel of her car whilst ‘fleeing’ from an abusive boyfriend
The mother-of-two was found to be almost one and a half times the alcohol limit after police stopped her Mercedes A180 Sport following a 999 call saying she had been drinking
Johnston (pictured leaving court) admitted drink driving in court and was disqualified for 12 months, fined £120 and ordered to pay £168 in costs and victim surcharge
Johnston runs her own public relations company from her £500,000 apartment in Prestbury, Cheshire, but is currently living off savings after work dried up.
She was arrested at 10pm on October 5 when police got a call about a ‘concern for the welfare’ of Johnston and officers subsequently saw her driving along Altrincham Road in Wilmslow.
She was pulled over and tests showed she had 46 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, the legal limit being 35mg.
Johnston had no previous convictions. Her lawyer Richard Sibeon, said in mitigation: ‘She is a lady of 49 years of age and of previous good character. There is now the loss of that good character by her prompt guilty plea today.
‘She is very ashamed to be in court at this stage of her life and the circumstances are relevant.
‘This is an incident where there was a call to police where there was a concern for her welfare.
‘She had been involved in an incident of domestic violence and essentially, she made the understandable but fateful decision to drive.
‘She fled her home address and had gone to take refuge at the address of another ex-partner and the 999 call was made when she was in the car at the time.
Johnston was arrested at 10pm on October 5 when police got a call about a concern for her welfare and officers subsequently saw her driving along Altrincham Road in Wilmslow
She was pulled over and tests showed she had 46 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, the legal limit being 35mg
‘The suggestion was made she had consumed alcohol earlier in the day and she accepts that.
‘Arising from that incident the boyfriend remains on police bail and they are no longer together.
Mr Sibeon added: ‘Consideration was given as to whether a special reasons argument was to be put forward, but she just chose not to do that as she drove too far.
‘Although the domestic incident is mitigation, it is unlikely to avail her of a reason not to disqualify her. The reading was not high. It is towards the bottom end of the scale.
‘Because of the separation from her partner, given those issues and the domestic incident remains under police investigation, as it stands she has no income.
‘She was financially dependent on her partner until then. She is now going to have to look for work now that the relationship has finished.
‘She does have some savings which she is living on, but she will have to get some employment. She accepts that it will be a job that does not require a driving licence.
‘I ask that you deal with her as leniently as possible, taking into account all those personal circumstances.
Johnston runs her own public relations company from her £500,000 apartment in Prestbury, Cheshire, but is currently living off savings after work dried up
Johnston had no previous convictions and her lawyer said she was ‘ashamed’ to be in court
‘It is not a case where she has driven home from the pub with no regard for what she was doing, but has got out of the house to flee domestic situation but she has driven too far.
‘I ask that you keep the period of disqualification to a minimum and ask that you the financial penalty to a minimum, giving her the appropriate credit for her guilty plea.’
Johnston was offered the opportunity to take the drink drive awareness course which will reduce the ban by a quarter.
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