Page last updated at 13:32 GMT, Monday, 7 September 2009 14:32 UK

Drink-drive woman spared prison

A driver who was nearly five times over the legal drink-drive limit when she crashed her car has escaped prison.

Julia Murray, of Luxmore Close, Plymouth, was on the way to buy more alcohol when she drove into two parked cars and railings.

Plymouth Magistrates' Court sentenced Murray to four months in prison but suspended it for a year because of the effect on her family.

The 39-year-old was also banned from driving for three years.

The court was told a neighbour saw Murray at the wheel of a Vauxhall Astra car in her home street at 2300 BST one night last month.

At the time she was drinking herself into oblivion
Owen Lawton, defence solicitor

Prosecutor Angela Furniss said: "The car was stopped at an angle in the road. The car appeared to have hit railings on the opposite side of he road."

The defendant's son got out of the passenger seat and directed her "out of the collision".

She then drove to the end of the close and police arrived to see her clamber out of the car.

"She was staggering and having trouble standing up," Ms Furniss said.

Murray's breath-test reading was 171 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of breath - the legal limit is just 35.

'Incredibly stupid'

Magistrates were told Murray, who has an alcohol problem, had been convicted for drinking and driving more than 10 years ago.

Owen Lawton, defending, said: "At the time she was drinking herself into oblivion. She was leaving her home address with the intention of getting more alcohol.

"She went a distance of about 100 yards when she realised what she was doing was incredibly stupid and she got out of the car."

Murray had admitted drinking and driving at an earlier hearing.

District Judge Paul Farmer told her: "With that amount of alcohol there was a substantial risk not just to yourself but more particularly to other members of the public."

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