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Drunk teenager banned from driving after crashing his mother’s car into a house

13:27 12 September 2012

The scene of the car accident at Swafield.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

The scene of the car accident at Swafield. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2012

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A teenager who crashed his mother’s car and shattered another family’s home after a night out drinking has been fined and banned from driving for 18 months.

Thomas Hill, 19, was driving home to his address on The Street in Swafield in the early hours of August 27 when he lost control and crashed into a parked car, shunting it through the front wall of a cottage on his street, opposite the junction with Bradfield Road.

Hill appeared at Norwich Magistrates’ Court yesterday, where he pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated vehicle-taking and property damage, driving while above the legal alcohol limit, and driving without third party insurance.

The court heard he took the keys to his mother’s Mazda 123 without her knowledge in order to drive a friend home, despite having drunk “four or five pints of cider”.

Simon Nicholls, defending, said Hill had an unblemished history, with no previous convictions or cautions, and had described himself as a “total idiot” for the lapse of judgement.

After reading a list of good character references, magistrates said they would reduce the sentence based on Hill’s early guilty plea, fining him £150 and banning him for driving for 18 months. He was also ordered to pay £85 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Mr Nicholls said: “He (Hill) has told me what a total idiot he has been. He has never been in trouble in his life, not even so much as a parking ticket.

“Absolutely everything in his life was fine and solid. He starts an engineering degree at the University of Manchester on Saturday and here he was sitting in a pub listening to his mate moaning about having to walk home, so he decides to take his mum’s car and save him the walk. The consequences of that will be a conviction and a drink-driving ban.

“He is a good hard-working lad and this is a complete one-off. I cannot think of a better example of someone who, for once in their life, has made a stupid error of judgement and now finds himself in magistrates’ court facing the consequences.”

Gary Mayle, prosecuting, said: “It was 4.40 in the morning and Mr Starling (the owner of the house) was rudely awoken by a very loud bang outside the front of his house. It was found that the defendant had driven his mother’s car straight across a junction and into a vehicle which in turn was pushed into the victim’s house.”

Following the crash, the family-of-five in the damaged house said they were “lucky to get out alive” after their car was shunted into their lounge.

Alison and Matthew Starling and their three children Daniel, 18, Oliver, 15 and William, 13, were in the house when the incident happened. They have been forced to stay with Mr Starling’s parents, who live nearby, until the damage can be repaired.

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