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Single mum caught almost four times drink-drive limit on A47 on Boxing Day escapes jail

PUBLISHED: 16:07 03 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:22 04 January 2019

Norwich Magistrates Court. Picture: Denise Bradley

Norwich Magistrates Court. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant

A single mum caught almost four times the drink-drive limit on Boxing Day has escaped jail.

Hayley Wheaton had drunk “more heavily than she usually would” on Christmas Day after her son went to spend time with his father, and was still over the limit when she drove on the A47 at 3pm the next day, Norwich Magistrates Court heard.

Wheaton, 26, was banned from driving for 30 months after being stopped at Postwick when a member of the public reported her to police.

James Burrows, mitigating, said: “I have not seen anybody so upset at their behaviour, or so scared of the court, in my 11 years of practice.

“The terror of this has been about the impact on her three-year-old son. There is nobody else who can have that child.”

Prosecutor Stephen Poole said a member of the public called the police control room around 2.51pm after seeing Wheaton’s car being driven erratically at the Postwick interchange.

“They reported it was all over the road and going the wrong way on one of the slip roads,” he said.

Wheaton, who admitted the drink-drive offence, blew a lower reading of 127mcg in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Mr Burrows said: “On Christmas Day her son had been with her, and late afternoon he went to his dad’s house. His dad usually has him every other weekend, and on this occasion was going to be with him for four days.

“She was with friends, it is her down time, her time off from being a mum, and she has drunk into the evening time - she readily admits - far more heavily than she would do at any other time in her life.

“She insists all she ever wants to be is the best mum she can be for her child, and she doesn’t drink while her son is around.

“The festive spirit got very much the better of her.”

He said she had heard her new partner’s son was unwell, and felt she “had to be there” to help.

“She isn’t used to the area and gets lost and comes to a stop on a slip road, where she is parked when police arrive,” he said.

“What we have here is an incredibly foolish decision made from the heart. But for that one decision I don’t think you would see this person in a courtroom in her life.”

Wheaton, of Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, was given six weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months.

She must also pay a £115 surcharge.

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