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Drink driver pulled out of Armagh city car park and drove in middle of two lanes

Defendant told: 'You are fortunate to escape custody'

A Newry man has been told by a judge he was “fortunate to escape custody” after being caught drink driving.

Court heard the 39-year-old was also a disqualified driver and had taken his mother’s car without permission.

Eamonn Mathews, of Dublin Road, pleaded guilty to failing to provide a breath specimen, driving whilst disqualified, using a vehicle without insurance, driving whilst unfit and taking a vehicle without authority.

Armagh Magistrates’ heard on Tuesday, that police were called regarding a suspected drink driver in the Dobbin Street car park, Armagh, at around 9pm on September 3.

Officers arrived to observe the defendant driving a Peugeot out of the car park and proceed to drive in the middle of two lanes.

Police stopped Matthews, whom they noted had glazed eyes and slurred speech.

A preliminary breath test was failed at the roadside.

The defendant told police that he was a disqualified driver, had no insurance and had taken the vehicle without consent.

Matthews was taken to Lurgan Custody Suite where he refused to give an evidential breath sample.

During interview, the defendant admitted taking the car without his mother’s permission, but denied driving that day.

He said that he had been out drinking the night before.

Defence barrister Kevin O’Hare stated: “It is bad enough to be caught driving whilst disqualified but the consumption of alcohol and taking of a vehicle without permission aggravate this offence.”

District Judge Paul Copeland commented:  “You are fortunate to escape custody.”

Matthews was sentenced to 200 hours of community service and was handed a two year driving ban.

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