Care worker drink drove after feeling guilty over bringing Covid into home

King's Lynn magistrates court/crown court Picture: Chris Bishop

A male driver was stopped by police only 20 minutes after leaving court, where he was disqualified from driving. - Credit: Chris Bishop

A care worker caught drink driving had been “overwhelmed with guilt” about four deaths at his workplace after catching Covid himself.

Matthew Meierhofer blamed himself for unwittingly passing it on to residents of the care home, a court was told.

The 36-year-old, of Wensum Way, Fakenham, had been out for a drink with a friend to console himself over the issue and a personal matter after arguing with his partner.

Magistrates in Lynn were told on Thursday that he was pulled over by police while driving a Renault Clio in Holt Road, Fakenham, just before 1am on February 27, 2021.

He failed a roadside breath test and admitted to officers that he only held a provisional licence.

In custody Meierhofer blew 86mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35.

He pleaded guilty to drink-driving and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.

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Rob Pollington, mitigating, said it was an “unfortunate situation” and the result of the combination of a number of things going on in the defendant’s life at the time.

“He works in a care home helping the elderly.

“He had suffered from Covid and then gone back to work, along with a second member of staff. Thereafter it had spread.

“He had an overwhelming sense of guilt that he had passed it on before he was the subject of a diagnosis and was responsible for the deaths of residents. There were four in the week he went back.”

The drink Meierhofer had shared with a friend was “not the most sensible under the circumstances”, Mr Pollington conceded. The defendant had been driving them back when he was stopped.

Meierhofer was fined £200 and disqualified from driving for 20 months, which can be cut with completion of a drink-drive rehabilitation course.

For the licence offence he was fined £50 and he was ordered to pay £105 costs and £34 victim surcharge.