Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Thursday, 21 August 2008 12:43 UK

Drink-drive mother sent to jail

Scene of crash
The woman was arrested after crashing into a fence

A drunk motorist whose five-year-old daughter was seen banging on a car window shouting "stop mummy driving" has been jailed for 80 days.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was caught driving while four-and-a-half times the legal limit after her child raised the alarm.

She was given the sentence after appearing at Falkirk Sheriff Court.

The case was brought after a passer-by alerted police in Falkirk in July after hearing the child's pleas for help.

The 35-year-old woman was convicted of two breaches under the Road Safety Act and also breaching the Children and Young Persons Act.

Tests showed she had a breath alcohol level of 158 micrograms, nearly four-and-a-half times the legal limit of 35.

You endangered yourself and members of the public, and you had your five-year-old child in the car, exposing her to danger
Sheriff William Gilchrist

Prosecutor Neil Kinnear described how a shocked member of the public saw the child banging on the car window shouting "stop mummy driving, stop mummy driving".

He said: "She ran towards the car, which had stopped, and the witness opened the rear door and took the child out of the car.

"She shouted for the accused to stop but she continued to drive in an erratic manner.

"She careered over the carriageway, mounted the pavement and hit a fence."

Local police were called as a passer-by removed the car keys from the ignition.

'Detox programmes'

Defence solicitor Kevin Douglas said that since the incident, the woman's daughter had been placed into the care of her grandparents.

He described the accused as an alcoholic whose addiction had caused cirrhosis of the liver.

Mr Douglas said: "She has very little recollection of that day.

"She is ashamed and upset and is quite often in tears during our conversations.

"There has been social work intervention and the child has now been placed with her [the woman's] parents.

"She can only have supervised contact with her daughter now."

Banning the woman from driving for three years in addition to the 80 day jail sentence, Sheriff William Gilchrist said: "You endangered yourself and members of the public, and you had your five-year-old child in the car, exposing her to danger.

"You clearly have an underlying alcohol problem, and have undergone several detox programmes and several admissions to hospital.

"Social workers have serious reservations about your willingness to detoxify. Given the gravity of the offences, a custodial sentence is the only appropriate one."

Child pleads 'stop mummy driving'
29 Jul 08 |  Tayside and Central

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