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Armagh drink driver fled scene after collision involving lorry on way home from Chinese takeaway

Defendant initially denied driving but later admitted to the offence saying he drove off due to panic

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An Armagh man who was found to be over twice the legal limit after fleeing scene of a collision has been handed an 18 month disqualification.

Sentencing the 40-year-old, the deputy district judge commented: “You are entitled to credit for your guilty plea and also you are entitled for it to be observed that you were not the author of this road traffic collision.”

Glen William McMurdie, of Alexander Avenue, had pleas of guilty entered on his behalf to driving with excess alcohol, failing to stop, failing to remain and failing to report an accident at the city’s Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry on Tuesday.

Prosecution outlined that on December 3, at 5.45pm, police received a report that a lorry had collided with the rear of an Audi TT in the vicinity of The Mall in Armagh.

Officers arrived and spoke with the lorry driver. He stated that the driver of the Audi had left without exchanging insurance details.

Checks of the car registration revealed it to be registered to an address in Armagh. At 6pm police arrived to find the vehicle parked outside with damage to the rear.

Officers spoke to the defendant. It was noted that his eyes were glazed and his speech slurred and a preliminary breath test was conducted resulting in a fail.

McMurdie was arrested and conveyed to Lurgan Custody Suite, where an evidential sample of breath was obtained giving a reading of 84mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath – over twice the legal limit.

The defendant initially denied driving but later admitted to the offence saying he drove off due to panic.

Defence solicitor Oisin Toner outlined that McMurdie struggled with his mental health and that “being in a very low mood” he had consumed alcohol.

The solicitor stated that the defendant had gone to a local Chinese takeaway and had been on his way back when the collision occurred.

He said: “Knowing that there was alcohol in his system he fled the scene….. there has not been any incident since and he no longer has access to any vehicle.”

Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer stated: “You are entitled to credit for your guilty plea and also you are entitled for it to be observed that you were not the author of this road traffic collision.

“That said, you were so intoxicated that you left the scene.”

McMurdie was disqualified from driving for 18 months and was ordered to pay a fine of £550, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 26 weeks.

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