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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

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Cumbrian motorist almost four times drink-drive limit

A driver caught behind the wheel while nearly four times over the legal limit has narrowly avoided jail.

Magistrates had warned Matthew McQuillen that he could have been sent to prison because he was driving after drinking so much.

The 54-year-old was caught in a Skoda Yeti on the A6 at Clifton, near Penrith, on June 10.

Carlisle Magistrates’ Court heard that police had noticed the car parked by the side of the road. After McQuillen, of Low Hall, Little Strickland, Penrith, tried to drive it away, officers smelt burning rubber and noticed the car had a flat tyre.

They blocked him from going any further and arrested him.

When breathalysed, McQuillen was found to have 124mg of alcohol in 100mg of breath. The legal limit is 35mg.

McQuillen pleaded guilty to drink-driving.

Representing himself, he told the court: “I acknowledge that the error was all mine.” He added that he had been driving since 1975 but did not have a British driving licence because he works in Iraq.

McQuillen, who appeared in court wearing a tweed jacket, blue shirt and light-coloured trousers, added that he was hoping to move to the UK permanently because his wife was from Yorkshire.

After reading a pre-sentence report by the Probation Service, magistrates decided not to send him to prison, instead ordering him to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work within the next 12 months.

He was also ordered to pay £85 in costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

McQuillen was also banned from driving in the UK for 30 months.

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