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Halling alcoholic Stephen Peace avoids jail after being found passed out in crashed car five times over limit

By Lizzie Massey

An alcoholic who astounded magistrates by being more than five times the legal drink-drive limit has been banned from driving for four years – but has avoided jail.

Stephen Pease, of Vicarage Close, Halling, was found unconscious in his smashed Mercedes with a bottle of vodka beside him.

Magistrates said the level of alcohol in his blood was probably the highest reading they had ever seen.

Stephen Pease avoided a jail term despite being five times the legal limit for alcohol

Chairman of the bench, David Graeme, said: “By rights you should be sent to prison, however we have given you credit for your early guilty plea.”

Pease pleaded guilty to driving while above the alcohol limit on October 10, last year.

The 47-year-old was found in the middle of Essex Road, Halling, at around 8.30pm.

Debbie Jones, for the prosecution, said: “There was damage to the front consistent with a road traffic collision and a bottle of vodka in the front passenger seat.”

Pease was taken to hospital and his blood showed 429 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, close to five and a half times the legal limit to drive, which is 80 milligrammes.

Pease told police he couldn’t recall anything prior to waking up in hospital.

Wayne Crowhurst, defending, said Pease was an alcoholic.

“He is of previous good character, so hopefully he won’t be back here again if he can get the help he needs to beat this addiction.”

Pease was found unconscious in his car in Essex Road, Halling

Pease, who has a teenage son who he sees daily, was given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and is disqualified from driving for four years.

Speaking after the hearing, he said: “I know I’m lucky to get out and not to be serving the six months in prison. It’s a huge relief.”

He will be under supervision for six months, must complete an alcohol treatment programme and has been put on a curfew for three months, preventing him from leaving his home between 6pm and 6am.

“I’m getting help now and I have to give up the drink, there’s no other way really” - Stephen Peace

He added: “My two nans died a year and a half ago and I lost my job and it all went downhill from there.

"I used to work drilling on the roads but it ended up giving me arthritis in my neck, arms, back and shoulders and I couldn’t do it any more.”

He was also offered a place on an alcohol rehabilitation course: “I’m getting help now and I have to give up the drink, there’s no other way really.”

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