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Armagh woman who believed sister was drink driving called 999 to alert police

Defendant visiting resident at care home over three times legal limit

Armagh Courthouse

An Armagh woman was caught driving over three times the legal limit after her sister made a 999 call to report alert police.

Helen Graham, of Bannvale Villas, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol at Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

The court heard the 58-year-old had one previous similar conviction from 2016.

Details of the incident were outlined, with the court informed how, at 2.20pm on May 25, police responded to a 999 call from Graham’s sister.

She told officers she had seen defendant driving erratically on the Hamiltonsbawn Road, Armagh, before turning into a care home there.

Her sister added that the defendant had appeared to struggle as she got out of her vehicle and appeared unsteady on her feet, as if intoxicated.

Police attended the care home where Graham was visiting a resident.

Officers spoke to the defendant who admitted to driving after having been drinking.

An evidential reading was taken which showed Graham to have 122mgs of alcohol per 100mls of breath – more than three times the legal limit.

Defence counsel stated they had to “concede that is a very high reading”.

He explained that the defendant’s husband played a very important role, adding: “When he is present she does not have an alcohol problem.”

And he added: “Without alcohol this woman would never be sat before a court.”

Graham was given a three-year driving ban and ordered to pay a fine of £300, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 16 weeks.

Deputy District Judge Des Parry told the defendant: “Do your best to overcome this.”

The prosecution pointed out that Graham’s sister had not reported her out of any spite and wished for this to be noted.

Deputy District Judge Parry said that perhaps she should be thanked, as he remarked: “A reading that high, she was very fortunate that she was stopped.”

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