A man was spared a driving ban after pleading exceptional hardship following a friend’s suicide.

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Craig Aldous was caught on Narborough Road in Pentney near King’s Lynn on June 27 driving at 46mph in a 30mph zone in a Ford Fiesta.

But Norwich Magistrates’ Court heard this morning that the 28-year-old had been suffering following the death of his friend, pig farmer Stephen Brown.

Mr Brown, 52, from East Harling, committed suicide in February, days after video footage emerged from an animal rights group, which showed pigs being kicked, slapped and beaten with iron bars at his farm. Two farm workers were later convicted of cruelty.

The court was told that Aldous went to see Mr Brown after the footage was published, but found him missing.

Malcolm Savory, mitigating, said: “He is at a difficult time in his life.

“He will need a lot of support because of the experience he has gone through.”

The court also heard that Aldous of The Street, Taverham, would struggle to do his job without a licence and hoped to work for his father’s property maintenance firm, where he would need to drive.

Chair of the bench, Martin Cliffe said: “You have demonstrated sufficiently that there is going to be exceptional hardship.”

Aldous, who admitted the speeding offence, was fined £80 and had five points put on his licence.

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