Grantham court: Drink driver hit pedestrian island in middle of road

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A drink driver was caught by police when his car hit a pedestrian island, puncturing his tyres, in Great Gonerby.

Luke William Palmer, 29, of Marsh Lane, Farndon, Newark, pleaded guilty to drink driving on November 23 and to driving without insurance and without a valid driving licence when he appeared before Grantham magistrates.

Prosecuting, Jim Clare told the court that in the early hours of November 23 Palmer was found sitting in a stationary Ford Mondeo in the middle of High Street, Great Gonerby, with the hazard lights on. Both offside tyres had been punctured after the car hit the pedestrian island in the middle of the road. There were four males in the car.

Mr Clare said a roadside breath test proved positive. It showed Palmer had 90 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

The legal limit is 35 microgrammes of alcohol. At first Palmer denied he was the driver of the car when interviewed by police, but later changed his mind.

Rory Macmillan, defending, said Palmer was a former Army master chef in the Royal Logistic Corps with the rank of Staff Sergeant. He had left with an exemplary record and a number of tours under his belt including Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.

Mr Macmillan said Palmer had struggled to adapt to civilian life and to find a job, although he had now found a position in Benidorm. He said Palmer would fly out the next day to Spain for training before starting the permanent job as a executive chef the following week.

Of the offences, Mr Macmillan said: “He accepts it was a very bad decision all of his own. He understands the implications and is fully remorseful about it.

“He says he was rock bottom after leaving the Army and lost any purpose in life which has now changed with the offer of a job.

“The offer arrived just two days after the incident and it has given him time to reflect on his actions. He realises it was a crassly stupid decision.”

Mr Macmillan said his client was on Jobseeker’s allowance, but would be earning about 600 euros a week when he started the Benidorm job. The court was told that Palmer had been convicted of drink driving offences in 2007 and 2010.

The magistrates banned Palmer from driving for four years.

They fined him £665 for the drink driving offence and £200 for having no insurance. No separate penalty was made for driving without a licence. He was ordered to pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £67.