Drunk Derbyshire man got behind the wheel after “panic attack”

A Derbyshire man got behind the wheel more than three times over the drink drive limit after having a “panic attack” in the early hours of the morning, a court heard.

Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 3:47 pm
James Sayles, 21, had drunk “quite a lot” at a barbecue with friends the preceding evening
James Sayles, 21, had drunk “quite a lot” at a barbecue with friends the preceding evening

James Sayles, 21, had drunk “quite a lot” at a barbecue with friends the preceding evening and was “as happy as he had been for some time”.

However Chesterfield Magistrates Court heard on June 8 at about 2.50am a police officer pulled him over in Dronfield while driving with his day time lights on.

Alice Hornsby, prosecuting, said after Sayles was pulled over in his VW Polo it was “immediately apparent” to a police officer that he was under the influence of alcohol.

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She said: “His eyes were glazed and his speech was slurred.”

John Wilford, defending, said his client was a man of previous good character and had cooperated fully with the police.

He said: “Mr Sayles has some mental health problems which he is receiving treatment for.

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“He had been out that night with friends at a barbecue and had quite a lot to drink. He tells me he was as happy as he had been for some time.”

Mr Wilford said after the barbecue Sayles took an Uber taxi home with friends, however a panic attack later that night made him get behind the wheel of his car.

He added: “He decided he didn’t want to be around anymore, got into his car and drove off with thoughts of self-harm.

“He then realised how stupid he was being and was returning home when he was pulled over.”

Mr Wilford said since the incident a mental health crisis team had become involved in Sayles’ case.

The defendant, of Scarsdale Cross, Dronfield, admitted drink driving.

Magistrates banned him from driving for 25 months, handing him a £500 fine, £85 court costs and a £50 victim surcharge.

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