Man who felt lonely caught drink-driving, court hears

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

Stephen Christmas was banned from driving at King's Lynn Magistrates' Court - Credit: Ian Burt

A 70-year-old man said to be feeling lonely and isolated after the breakdown of his marriage was caught drink-driving at twice the limit near his home in Great Massingham.

Stephen Christmas had been wanting to get fish and chips from a van setting up on the green.

Prosecutor Denise Holland told Lynn Magistrates’ Court on Thursday that he was told it wasn’t open yet.

Christmas went away and was witnessed to return later in a Mitsubishi Pajero, parking in front of the van.

It was still too early for the van and he was turned away. Police attended and Christmas failed a roadside breath test and was arrested.

In custody he blew 73 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath; the legal limit being 35.

He told police he had been feeling “very lonely” and had been drinking but hadn’t eaten for two days before the incident.

Most Read

“He said he was sorry for his actions and it was a wake-up call for the way he was dealing with his loneliness,” said Mrs Holland.

Christmas, of Mill Lane, had no previous convictions, and pleaded guilty to drink-driving on October 1.

Solicitor Ruth Johnson, mitigating, said he had been drinking after suffering a marriage breakdown and some difficulties at work which left him upset and frustrated.

“It was a way of dealing with loneliness and with isolation,” Miss Johnson added. “The day after this offence he went to (alcohol and drug support provider) CGL and has a certificate to say he has completed the awareness course with them.”

Christmas was disqualified from driving for 18 months, which can be cut with completion of a drink-driver rehabilitation course. He was also fined £250 and told to pay £105 costs and £34 victim surcharge.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter