Woman was 'staggering and trying to hug' off-licence staff and later failed to provide breath sample to police

Woman was 'staggering and trying to hug' off-licence staff and later failed to provide breath sample to police

A BANGOR woman who had been "staggering and trying to hug" staff at an off-licence drove away despite efforts to stop her from getting behind the wheel.

When police arrived at her home Jennifer McCall assaulted an officer.

The 56-year-old, of Primacy Park, pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer and failing to provide a specimen of breath on December 4 last year, Newtownards Magistrates Court (main picture) heard.

A prosecutor said staff at 'Primacy wine lodge' said the defendant had entered the store and was "intoxicated" and was "staggering and trying to hug members of staff".

When she bought alcohol staff followed her outside and realised her vehicle was present.

The prosecutor said: "They tried to take the keys off her but she was irate. They also offered her a lift home which she refused".

Staff stood in the path of the car to try to prevent it leaving, the court was told, but the defendant drove off.

Police called at her home where she was "intoxicated".

She "lunged" at police and had to be restrained, Court News NI can report.

She refused to give a breath sample in custody and said: "Charge me and let me go you b*stard, I am going to kill you".

A defence lawyer said the defendant was aware of the "stupidity" of her actions.

District Judge Mark Hamill noted the defendant had originally claimed she only had a "drop of Tequila" before going to the off-licence for more drink and had taken most of it when she returned home before police arrived.

He said if the defendant had contested the case and been found guilty she would have been jailed.

The judge added:"We don't know how drunk she was. I can deduce that she was hopelessly drunk when she got into her car and drove off".

Judge Hamill said it had been an "appalling incident of drink driving" and told the defendant at court: "Just imagine if you had hit somebody, a jury being told 'well the off-licence people tried to stop her driving, they couldn't' and you hit somebody, hurt somebody or killed somebody; you would be facing seven years in prison.

"That is how lucky you are you didn't hit anybody on the way home."

The defendant was given a four months jail sentence, suspended for three years; banned from driving for 28 months and fined £200.