Belvoir Castle gamekeeper drove after ‘tipple’ with Duchess of Rutland

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The head gamekeeper at Belvoir Castle said that he was driving drunk after the Duchess of Rutland ‘offered him a tipple’.

Grantham magistrates’ court heard how despite attempts to pour the alcohol into a plant pot, the 76-year-old defendant still ended up drinking.David Boynton of Terrace Hills Farm, Knipton, pleaded guilty to driving with 82 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.

Prosecutor Marie Stace outlined how at 4.05pm on December 8, police stopped the Mitsubishi Boynton was driving on Eastwell Road in Belvoir.

The officers could smell alcohol and after Boynton failed a roadside breath test he was arrested and taken to the police station, where a blood test was taken, with Boynton found to be just over the legal limit of 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.

Sonia Bhalla, defending, described her client as ‘an absolutely lovely individual’, and pointed out that it was his ‘first ever brush with the law’.

Miss Bhalla explained that Boynton had been Belvoir Castle’s head gamekeeper for the last three years, and on the date in question he had been to see his employer the Duchess of Rutland and ‘she had offered him a tipple’.

She added that he ‘felt obliged’ to accept, although recognised that he wasn’t under duress.

The Duchess provided a character reference for the defendant in a letter read by magistrates. They also heard that Boynton lives on the estate.

Miss Bhalla added that Boynton had recently got married, and as he needed to drive around the grounds for his work he was concerned at losing his job and having to rely on his wife’s pension.

Magistrates said that it was one of the lowest blood readings they had ever seen and sentenced Boynton to the minimum driving ban of 12 months.He was also given the chance to reduce this by three months through completing a drink driver’s rehabilitation course, and ordered to pay a £230 fine, £85 in prosecution costs and a £23 victim surcharge.