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Heavily intoxicated Armagh driver travelled with young child in car during heavy snow

An Armagh man who was barely able to stand up when pulled over by police was on his way to pick his wife up from work with a young child in the car, a court has heard.

Paul Cartmill, 47, of Annahugh Hill, appeared at Armagh Magistrates’ on Tuesday charged with driving with excess alcohol in his breath.

The incident occurred on March 2, when police responded to a report at around 10.15pm of a Volkswagen Passat in the Kilmore area, which was swerving all over the road.

Officers responded slowly due to icy roads, low temperatures and heavy snow, but followed the defendant to his home address.

They witnessed him get out of the car, with his wife stepping out of the passenger seat and a young child exiting from the rear door.

Police approached Cartmill noting that he was unsteady on his feet and smelled strongly of alcohol.

The defendant failed a preliminary breath test and in Lurgan Custody Suite, another test was administered giving a reading of 126mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

Defence counsel stated Cartmill had been using alcohol as a “crux to battle depression” and had offered a plea on March 17, but a pre-sentence report had been ordered due to the high reading.

Court also heard that the defendant had decided to drive to collect his wife from work as she was unable to get a taxi due to the weather – the defence claiming the journey was “all of two miles”.

Adding that they understood this did not matter regardless and “thankfully no accident occurred”.

District Judge Paul Copeland told Cartmill “you were heavily intoxicated putting both the young child and your wife at risk, however, your pre-sentence report demonstrates that you show remorse and take responsibility for your actions”.

The defendant was banned from driving for 16 months and ordered to complete 125 hours of community service.

Cartmill was offered to have his disqualification reduced to 12 months if he completed the relevant drink-driving course.

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