A TEACHER who has become dependent on alcohol was found to be four times over the drink drive limit on Christmas Day.
Julia Francis Griffiths, 45, said to be a highly regarded teacher but who had ended up being treated for depression and alcohol issues after a number of setbacks, effectively “fell out of the car” when stopped by police.
Griffiths, of Park Road, Buckley, went out on Christmas Day to move her car from her father's address around the corner to her own.
But she was seen by police driving without lights and a later breath test showed she had 147 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath compared to the legal limit of 35mgs.
She admitted drink driving, and driving without a licence or insurance when she appeared at Flintshire Magistrates Court in Mold yesterday. Sentence was adjourned and she was made the subject of an interim driving ban.
Magistrates warned her that all sentencing options would remain open, including custody.
Matthew Ellis, prosecuting, said police saw a Mazda car being driven without lights in Church Road, Buckley, at about 6.30pm on Christmas Day.
They were concerned at the manner of driving, followed the car for a short distance, and the driver then stopped in the middle of the road.
Officers approached, took the car keys and asked Griffiths to get out of the vehicle, and she “effectively fell out of the car” and had to be helped across the road to the police car.
Huw Roberts, defending, said it was a particularly sad case of a woman with a 20 year teaching career who had suffered a number of setbacks in her life. She was being treated for depression and had become dependent on alcohol.
She had worked in a mainstream school, then ran a centre for the youth justice service for many years, before taking a job as a maths teacher.
She was currently on sick leave and had been through a catalogue of issues which meant she had started to lean on alcohol and had unfortunately become dependent on it.
Griffiths had been a fitness fanatic but suffered from anorexia and started passing out and had been hospitalised in 2008.
Her mother died of cancer in 2010 and Griffiths was also responsible for her father who suffered from motor neurone disease and had been in a wheelchair for 10 years.
She had also been a witness to a alleged assault where proceedings were on-going. She had intervened to try to help friends and was said to have been assaulted.
“That on top of everything else meant this respectable lady with a 20 year career in teaching became alcohol dependent,” he said.
But last November – importantly before the drink-drive offence – she referred herself to the alcohol services for assistance and had a key worker.
On the day of the offence she intended to move her car a very short distance from her father’s home just around the corner, but was stopped by the police.
Griffiths believed she was licensed to drive and had paid for insurance but it turned out the DVLA had revoked her licence after a previous drink drive conviction.