In the Media

Drink-driving midwife had gin and tonic in her car

PUBLISHED May 1, 2012

A midwife who was caught drink-driving with a bottle of gin, tonic water and slices of lemon in her car has been banned from the road for three years.

Janice Hawke, 57, was approached by a member of the public after she pulled up outside a shop to buy more alcohol.

Police officers called to the scene on 3 April were amazed to find bottles and a glass containing slices of lemon in the Honda car. She gave an "extremely high" breathalyser reading but later refused a blood alcohol test at a police station.

Hawke pleaded guilty at Plymouth magistrates court in Devon to failing to provide a specimen. She was banned from driving, given 12 months' community service, and ordered to pay £85 in costs.

The court heard how Hawke was extremely distressed on the day of the offence after the death of her uncle, for whom she cared.

She drove from her home in St Budeaux, Plymouth, to buy alcohol from a shop and police were called. Eoin McCarthy, prosecuting, said: "When officers arrived they spoke to Miss Hawke and the inside of the vehicle smelled very strongly of alcohol."

On the front passenger seat was a bottle of Gordon's gin, tonic water and a glass holding slices of lemon. McCarthy said: "She was clearly under the influence of alcohol and as a result she was arrested."

Stephen Walker, defending, said: "She was very close to her uncle. He was the most important male figure in her life and she was also his carer. When he died she was, and is, very distressed about that, understandably, and on the day of this particular incident other members of the family had arrived to clear his accommodation.

"She could not cope with that. It was something that was very distressing to her indeed and that's why on this particular day she drank alcohol in the way that you have heard.

"She drove a short distance, around seven minutes, to somewhere to buy alcohol and she was sat in her vehicle listening to her radio and alcohol was consumed."

Hawke has one previous conviction for drink-driving in 2005, the court was told. She could not be charged with drink-driving on this occasion because she refused to give further samples.

Probation officer Charlie Casey said: "Miss Hawke has told me that when she starts to drink she can't stop, there is no cut-off period and that she would binge drink sometimes for a couple of days. She is employed as a midwife in the community and she stands to lose her employment.

"She informed me that she does not drink when she is working the next day, showing she can control her drinking."

The court will inform the health secretary about the conviction.