Downton Abbey star Brendan Coyle - who played valet John Bates - admits drink-driving in his BMW on New Year’s Day near King’s Lynn
14:12 11 February 2016
Downton Abbey’s Brendan Coyle - appearing under his real name of David - was today banned from the roads for 50 months after admitting drink-driving near King’s Lynn.
Coyle, 53, from High Street, Heacham, was caught nearly three times the legal limit, driving his BMW Convertible on the A149 on New Year’s Day.
King’s Lynn magistrates heard that Coyle was returning home to Heacham from a trip to a clinic in Thailand when he was pulled over by police.
He had spent a month at the clinic but had been drinking on the flight back from Thailand, which the court heard had been “lively”.
Coyle, who played valet John Bates in the ITV drama, failed a roadside breath test and was taken to the police station.
He gave a reading of 98mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The drink-drive limit is 35mcg.
Stephen Dyble, for Coyle, told magistrates his client had a “significant” alcohol problem, and had been at a rehabilitation clinic in Thailand before he was caught drink-driving.
Mr Dyble told the hearing that Coyle had spent the whole of December at the unit, but added: “I can’t say it was a success as the commission of the offence clearly shows it wasn’t and failed.
“As was made plain to the arresting officer, the flight home was quite lively.”
Mr Dyble told magistrates that all the progress made in the previous four weeks had been lost on one flight.
But he said Coyle had admitted himself to the organisation Promise on January 16, where he remained until February 3.
Mr Dyble said Coyle was now looking to get his life back on track and would be getting treatment for his drinking problem at a clinic in England.
After interviewing him, probation officer Sharon Cooper said Coyle had turned down work for the next few months to focus on remaining sober.
She said he described himself as a “recovering alcoholic” over the last four to five years.
Senior therapist Steven Bember from Promise also appeared to give evidence on the after care programme, which includes a two-to-four-day residential stay every four-to-six weeks.
The court was also told that Coyle, who had a previous, relevant conviction in 2011, has also embarked on the AA 12 steps programme.
Mr Dyble said: “He stands before you a very contrite man who appreciates he has a problem and is doing his best to confront it and very sorry for burdening you with this appearance.”
The court banned him from driving for 50 months. He was also ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work, given a 12-month community order with a 15 days rehabilitation activity, and told to pay £85 costs, plus a £60 victim surcharge.
•The EDP ran a campaign over the festive period to name and shame drink drivers.