Son wrote off mother's car in Prior Park crash

Magistrates heard how a Tweedmouth learner driver took his mum's car when she was away and wrote it off by crashing into railings.

Friday, 24th November 2017, 7:13 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 10:58 am
Berwick police station and courthouse, Church Street

James Gilroy, 20, of Knowehead, was also nearly two times over the drink-drive limit when the crash happened in the early hours of October 29, Berwick Magistrates’ Court was told last Thursday.

He pleaded guilty to charges of driving with excess alcohol, with no insurance, without a licence and aggravated vehicle taking.

James Long, prosecuting, told the court how the defendant, who only had a provisional driving licence, took his mother’s Fiat Punto without her knowledge when she was in Glasgow for the weekend.

He said: “At around 3.30am, Kevin Hayward, a taxi driver who ironically had driven the defendant home earlier in the evening, was at home when he heard a loud crash on Dean Drive and saw a car had crashed into railings.

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“Mr Hayward went outside and recognised the defendant as the man he had driven home earlier in the evening.

“A passenger in the vehicle had suffered a minor head injury and was taken to hospital by ambulance.

“For some reason, the defendant decided he wanted to go for a drive. He saw a friend and offered him a lift home but said his foot slipped on the accelerator.

“The defendant only had a provisional licence, he had no insurance to drive it and perhaps more importantly he had no permission to drive it from his mother.”

Police carried out a roadside breath test which measured 79mg alc/100ml breath. The legal limit is 35mg.

Gilroy was driven to Wallsend police station, where a follow-up formal breath test at 6.14am measured 67mg alc.

The court also heard that Northumberland County Council was claiming £1,308 for damage to the metal railings outside Prior Park First School.

Ian O’Rourke, defending, said: “It’s been a very expensive mistake. As well as the cost of damaging the railings, the car was not insured for him to drive.”

Magistrates called for pre-sentence reports, indicating they were leaving all sentencing options open, and adjourned the case until December 7. They also imposed an interim driving disqualification.