Ban for drinker who was asleep in a parked car

Magistrates today (Thursday) banned a man from driving after he had been drinking and was found asleep in the driver’s seat in a car park in Bourne.

Police spoke to Stephen Murphy (61), who was “slumped at the wheel”, in the Burghley Street car park at 12.30am on May 27.

Marie Stace, prosecuting, told Spalding magistrates the vehicle was stationary but the engine was running and the headlights were on.

Murphy was holding the bottom of the steering wheel.

He woke up and told police “I am going home” and turned the steering wheel and changed gear.

A test showed he had 69 microgrammes of alcohol in breath.

Murphy (61), of Main Road, Dyke, admitted being in charge of a motor vehicle when his alcohol level was above the legal limit.

Magistrates have discretion on disqualification – unlike a drink-drive case where it is mandatory – and imposed a 12 month ban in Murphy’s case.

Presiding magistrate Sarah Jennings told Murphy: “We are going to disqualify you, Mr Murphy. We do feel that you were intending to drive. Police found you with the ignition on and the engine on.” He can cut the ban by three months if he completes a rehabilitation course.

Murphy was also fined £100 and must pay £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

He told magistrates he runs a theatre company with his wife and they have helped a school set up a performing arts programme.

His wife teaches for a training organisation and he does all of the driving for that as well as visiting aged family.

Murphy said a ban would cause an “awful lot” of hardship.