Driver ploughs Mercedes into home after drinking five pints of Guinness
PUBLISHED: 17:39 08 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:43 09 January 2020
A businessman drank five pints of Guinness before getting behind his wheel and ploughing his Mercedes into the side of a holiday home where a grandfather was sleeping.
Benjamin Grint, 35, of The Hill in Little Snoring, pleaded with the owner of the home on The Street in Hindringham through the hole in the wall his car had made not to phone the police - after veering off the road and into the side of the building.
The owner of the home, Jonathan Cawley, was asleep at the time but was awoken by a "very, very loud bang" when the Mercedes C-class careered off the road, down the home's 40ft gravel driveway and into the kitchen wall. His wife and three grandchildren were also in the home at the time, but nobody was harmed.
Grint had previously pleaded guilty to drink driving and driving without insurance. He was on trial at Norwich Magistrates Court on Wednesday on a charge of dangerous driving - which he denied.
The court heard how the incident happened late on April 4, an evening that Grint had been drinking at the Carpenter's Arms in Wighton, near Wells.
Emma Wright, prosecuting, said that Grint, who recently opened a shoe shop in Holt, had drunk "four to five pints of Guinness" before attempting to drive home.
On the way, he missed two give way signs along Wells Road, close to its junction with The Street, before ploughing into the side of the building - causing £35,000-worth of structural damage and leaving bricks strewn over the floor.
A statement from Mr Cawley and read out by Ms Wright said: "I was woken by a very, very loud bang. I immediately noticed a lot of bricks and rubble and the front of a car was poking through my kitchen."
Mr Cawley added that Grint then "said he was very sorry" before asking on a number of occasions for him not to call the police.
Asked why, Grint told the court: "It was an accident. I was aware I had a few drinks and I wanted to resolve the situation without the police. I did not want all this.
"I also wanted him to know just how absolutely sorry I was.
"I overshot the junction. I was not speeding at all and I did not see either of the give way signs approaching the junction. It was pitch black and as soon as I realised I was on gravel, I braked."
Ian Fisher, for Grint, said that while his client had admitted to driving carelessly, the incident did not cross the threshold into dangerous driving.
He said: "He did not think he was reckless, but admitted being careless. Reckless, no, thoughtless, yes. "He also did not for one moment try to flee the scene and was co-operative when the police arrived."
Mr Fisher added that had Grint been charged with careless driving - as opposed to dangerous driving - he would have entered a guilty plea at an earlier hearing.
Magistrates found Grint not guilty of dangerous driving, instead convicting him of the lesser charge of driving carelessly.
He was banned for driving for 16 months, ordered to pay £693 including two fines, court costs and a victim surcharge.