A BANK manager was seen sipping from a bottle of wine while sitting in his car.
Hugh Downer, 52, was spotted on CCTV drinking wine in the car park of County Hall in Mold and the police were informed.
Officers followed his VW car from King Street into Denbigh Road, where he was stopped.
It turned out that he was twice the drink drive limit with a reading of 73 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath, compared to the legal limit of 35.
Flintshire Magistrates Court heard that it had been a terrible year for Downer, who had acted out of character.
Downer, of Llys y Fron, Mold, admitted drink driving on July 20 and was banned from driving for 17 months.
He was fined £600, with £145 costs.
Matthew Ellis, prosecuting, said that officers had been informed that a man was drinking from a wine bottle in his car parked at the county council car park.
At 5.50pm they saw his vehicle in town and followed it to Denbigh Road where he was arrested after he provided a positive breathtest.
Stephen Edwards, defending, said that when stopped he commented “I’m finished”.
Mr Edwards said that his client had worked for the last 15 years at the Natwest Bank in Mold and was the small and medium business manager for North Wales.
But it was hoped that he would be able to retain his job thanks to his wife who, by changing her working arrangements, would be able to drive him to and from work.
Downer had in the preceding weeks and months been through a series of difficulties which had affected him and his family.
His sister in law had fallen down stairs, suffered a brain injury and unfortunately died.
His wife had been badly affected and they also as a result had additional family responsibilities in the care of the Downer’s disabled brother-in-law.
He and his wife had been particularly worried about their daughter, 20, a music student who lived in London.
She had been on a weekend break with her mother to Cardiff but suddenly decided to return to London.
Downer had been to see his parents and intended to return home but stopped in his car thinking about the “annus horribilis” period they had been through – although hopefully things would now improve.
“Whatever happens today will not be much worse that what he has been through in the last year,” said Mr Edwards.
Downer was a man with a clean driving licence since the age of 22, was a man who had never troubled the criminal justice system previously and who carried out a lot of charitable work in his home town.
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