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Canterbury drink driver ploughed Mini into RSPCA shop in St Dunstans

By Alex Claridge

A drink driver who ploughed his car into a St Dunstan’s Street shop had got behind the wheel to buy a kebab just 200 yards from his home.

Jonathan Rich, of Station Road West, Canterbury, was twice the legal drink drive limit when his black Mini smashed into the front window of the RSPCA shop on the night of May 18.

A Mini Cooper crashed into a charity shop in Canterbury. Picture: @pmichaelas

Canterbury Magistrates Court heard that the 24-year-old was found by police jogging away along Kirby’s Lane.

Unsteady on his feet and reeking of alcohol, he told officers: “I’ve had a few drinks and I was driving to get a kebab.”

Prosecutor Gemma Webb said the car had hit the building which such force that a structural engineer had to be called out to make it safe.

Rich was arrested and at court he admitted drink driving. A breath test showed he had 70 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

Drink driver Jonathan Rich appears at Canterbury Magistrates' Court

David Barton, defending, denied that Rich had been trying to leave the scene of the crash.

“A number of people had come out of a nearby pub and told him to get out of the car because there was steam coming from it,” Mr Barton said.

“There was never a suggestion he was leaving the scene.”

Mr Barton said Rich lives just 200 yards from St Dunstan’s and described the offence as “wholly out of character”. He said it happened after Rich had been at a barbecue earlier that day.

“Mr Rich is an honest man who is ashamed by what he has done,” Mr Barton said.

“He is contrite and apologetic. He has a strong sense of personal shame and knows he has let himself down.”

Mr Barton added that Rich did not know why the accident happened and was “horrified” that it had.

Terry Thompson, who owns the building Rich hit, was upstairs in bed on the night.

He later told the Gazette: “We heard an almighty bang – the whole building shook.

“I looked out of the window and saw a Mini sticking out of the building. I just don’t know how they could have done it.

“I saw two lads standing by the car – they looked utterly dazed. I was told they were going out to get a kebab.”

Magistrates banned Rich for 18 months and fined him £250 with £85 costs and a £25 surcharge.

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