A DRINK driver was shopped to police by one of her own friends after she got behind the wheel following a mammoth booze session.
Stacey Ryan, 39, was found weeping at the wheel of her Ford Fiesta outside her house and when quizzed said: ''I need help. Please help me, I am sorry. I'm going to quit my job.”
Earlier officers had been alerted by Ryan's pal – described as a ''safeguarding friend" – who rang 999 saying she had met up with Ryan only to see her clamber into her vehicle ahead of the evening rush hour after an afternoon drinking binge.
Tests showed railway worker Ryan had 146 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mg.
At Sefton magistrates court, Merseyside, Ryan of Oxton, near Birkenhead who has since joined Alcoholics Anonymous was given 18 weeks jail suspended for 18 months after she was admitted drink driving.
She was also banned from the roads for three years.
Miss Ashleigh Simpson, prosecuting, said: “Police received a call from a member of public at just before 5.20pm on Tuesday April 12 to say that a woman was trying to leave her location in a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
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“She was a friend of the defendant and was aware that the defendant was under the influence of alcohol. She was concerned about her driving the vehicle.
“Officers attended. However, the vehicle had already left and they headed in the direction of the defendant’s address. There they found the car outside her address in her street. The defendant was inside the car with both hands on the wheel and she was crying.
“She was asked to turn the engine off and the officers could smell alcohol on her breath. She was crying and saying that she needed help. She said she was attending therapy in Wirral.
“She said she was sorry and was going to end her job. The time of the day was an aggravating feature. It was a Tuesday afternoon, just past 5pm, and there would have been other road users on the road.”
Ryan had previous convictions from 2007 for assault and battery.
'I NEED HELP'
In mitigation, her lawyer Mark Ellis said: ''When more sophisticated offenders are found sitting in the car and not driving they would not admit to driving because they would know the sentence is much less for being ‘in charge’ of the vehicle than for driving. But this lady has made full admissions.
“The reading is in the top category, I do not dispute that. When spoken to by police she made a significant statement, she said that she needed help. She has battled with her mental health demons all her life. She suffers from anxiety and depression.
“Sometimes her anxiety is so severe that she cannot get out of bed. She worked with the railway. You have heard that she said she resigned, but I suspect she was going before she was pushed.”
Mr Ellis said Ryan was attending twice weekly group sessions with AA, plus ‘Wirral Ways to Recovery’.
He added: ''The woman who contacted police was someone described as a “safeguarding friend. She was the person who called police to say that she needs help.
''What I would say is that this is not the sort of case where the court should consider an immediate custodial sentence due to the plethora of problems that she has.
“You could deal with this by way of a suspended sentence and if she comes to court again for another offence that trap door should open.
“She is making an effort to deal with her problems and that will allow her to continue to follow that route to rehabilitation. This is a lady who at the time said, ‘I need help’ and who says today through her advocate ‘Please help me’.
“On her behalf, can I say how thoroughly ashamed she is for behaving in the way she did. She is making attempts to turn her life around. She is receiving medication for alcohol withdrawal and medication for depression and anxiety.”
Ryan was also ordered to complete 15 Rehabilitation Activity Days and pay £213 in costs a victim surcharge.
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Chairman of the bench Bernice Balmer told her: “In the positive, we would like to say that it is commendable that you have joined the AA and taken hold of your issues and so you are now going to move forward with your problems. It is commendable that you have taken the initiative to get some help.
“But this is one of the highest readings that I have ever seen. You are not going to prison today but if you come before the court again you can expect that to be an option and that's going to be hanging over your head as a deterrent and to help you stay on the straight and narrow. The bench wishes you well and we hope that things work out for you.''
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