Family left 'heartbroken' as reunion ruined by drink driver

King's Lynn Magistrates' Court. Picture: Ian Burt.

Ayto appeared at King's Lynn Magistrates' Court. - Credit: Ian Burt

A couple say their post-lockdown Christmas Eve family reunion was ruined when a drink-driver wrote off their car in a crash outside their home.

Ben Ayto, 28, was twice the limit when he lost control of a Skoda Fabia in Main Road, Billingford, on December 24, 2020.

“Mr Ayto was trying to leave the scene but he was able to bring him back,” prosecutor Jessica Pratt Vivian told King's Lynn Magistrates’ court on Thursday.

Police were called and Ayto, of Oxwick Road, Horningtoft, was taken to hospital in custody after failing a roadside test.

He later blew 176 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood; the legal limit is 80.

In a victim statement read to the court, the homeowner accused Ayto of showing no remorse at the scene and said he had not returned to apologise.

He said the incident had ruined a family reunion after months apart due to lockdown.

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“This left us heartbroken,” he added.

Ayto pleaded guilty to drink-driving.

Andrew Cogan, mitigating, said his client was certainly remorseful but had been advised by police not to go back to the house.

The defendant had been at a pub in Foulsham and both cars were written off as a result of the crash, the court was told.

Mr Cogan said Ayto had been in “no fit state” to try and leave the scene nor think too much about the effect on the victims.

The defendant was disqualified from driving for 20 months, which can be cut with completion of a drink-driver rehabilitation course.

He was also fined £375 and ordered to pay £105 costs and £38 victim surcharge.

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