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Drink driver took car out in ‘moment of madness’ and left it on its side in road on fire

His solicitor said: 'I have asked him what possessed him to do this and he says it was the stress of life'

A man who left a car on its side on fire after drink driving over twice the legal limit has been disqualified for 12 months.

The 29-year-old’s solicitor told court: “I have asked him what possessed him to do this and he says it was the stress of life. He malfunctioned, took the car out to clear his head and had a moment of madness”.

Ryan James McAlinden, of Parknasilla Way, Aghagallon, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol, aggravated taking and damaging a vehicle and using a vehicle without insurance at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court  on Friday.

It was heard that on April 28, at around 3.30am, police spotted a Peugeot 206 on fire on its side on the Lurgan Road, Aghagallon.

Police attended the home of the last registered owner. The defendant was present at this address and admitted to being the driver when the crash occurred.

A preliminary breath test was carried out resulting in a fail. He was arrested and a subsequent test in custody gave a reading of 75mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

During interview, McAlinden admitted to crashing the vehicle. He claimed he left the scene as the car was on fire and he didn’t have his phone on him.

The defendant said that he had one pint of beer with dinner, however, his partner claimed McAlinden consumed more beer in the living room.

He later told police that he had consumed vodka following the crash to calm his nerves.

Defence solicitor Chris Logue stated: “The thing is that he confessed to police at the house. They did not know who was driving the car.

“I have asked him what possessed him to do this and he says it was the stress of life, he malfunctioned took the car out to clear his head and had a moment of madness.”

McAlinden was disqualified from driving for 12 months and ordered to pay a fine of £700, along with the offender’s levy of £15 within 12 weeks.

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