Navy officer caught driving after drinking ‘absolutely huge’ amount

Steven Hawthorne leaving Norwich Magistrates Court. PIC: Peter Walsh.

Steven Hawthorne leaving Norwich Magistrates Court. PIC: Peter Walsh. - Credit: Archant

A Royal Navy officer missed a turning and skidded onto a path after drinking an 'absolutely huge' amount of alcohol, a court heard.

Steven Hawthorn, 35, who has served in Afghanistan as well as on NATO duties during his Royal Navy career, had been back in Norfolk visiting family when he was stopped by police.

Denise Holland, prosecuting at Norwich Magistrates' Court, said it was about 10.20pm on December 22 when police saw Hawthorn's Volvo travelling slowly before overshooting a turning and going up the path on Allen Meale Way, Stalham.

Mrs Holland said the officer followed Hawthorn, who then fell over when he got out of the vehicle.

He was found to have 142mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.

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Representing himself on Tuesday (December 31), Hawthorn, who was more than four times the legal drink drive limit, said he had "no excuses".

Hawthorn, from Woodbury Salterton, Exeter, admitted driving above the legal drink-drive limit.

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He read out a statement expressing his "solemn remorse" for what he had done and the effect it would have on his family.

He said December 22 was the birthday of his deceased mother and the first time he had been able to meet up with some of his family who were back from Australia.

Hawthorn said his car was full of Christmas presents for his family and made the decision to move the car a few hundred yards to try and keep safe the "gifts I had worked so hard for".

He said he understood he must now be punished but said no sentence could hit him harder than the impact it had had on his family.

Cathryn Dobson, chair of the bench of magistrates, said he gave an "absolutely huge" reading. The case was adjourned until January 10 for a pre-sentence report to be carried out with Hawthorn being warned that all options, including custody, were open.

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