Court hears suicidal driver refused to give police alcohol test as he drove towards South Tyneside coast

The Gateshead local pleaded guilty to failing to provide a specimen, driving without insurance and driving without a licence.

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A suicidal driver has been spared jail for refusing to be booze tested after crashing while on his way to death leap off cliffs in South Tyneside.

Serial drink driver Kevin Jackson, 43, escaped with a 12-week suspended prison term – and a 48-month roads’ ban.

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Police found him lying injured on the Coast Road at South Shields, close to the Bamburgh pub, after being thrown from his motor in a two-car smash.

They also spotted a partly drunk bottle of wine on the passenger seat of his Vauxhall Astra on Wednesday, September 6 – and he smelled of alcohol.

But at hospital, Jackson, of Gilliland Crescent, Birtley, Gateshead, refused a lawful request to provide a sample of blood to test his intake level.

To compound matters, borough magistrates heard he had never held a driving licence and had been convicted of driving with excess alcohol five times.

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His most recent were in 2014 and 2020, the last leading to a three-year disqualification.

They warned the jobless engineer he faced up to 26 weeks behind bars for his latest offences.

But they backtracked from imposing custody, informing the dad-of-three it would cause his family too great a hardship.

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Prosecutor Emma O’Hegarty said: “An officer was on duty when he received a report of a two-car road traffic collision.

“He noticed a black Vauxhall Astra with front end damage in the middle of the road and a parked VW which appeared to have crashed.

“A man was lying there. A witness identified him as being the driver and said there was a bottle of wine in the middle of the passenger seat.

“The officer could smell intoxicants. The defendant was arrested and cautioned and taken to hospital.

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“A doctor agreed that the drink drive procedure could be done, but the defendant refused to provide a sample of blood for analysis.”

Jackson, who has 17 previous convictions, pleaded guilty to failing to provide a specimen, driving without insurance and driving without a licence.

Defending himself, he said: “It was my mental health that day. My dog of 18 years had been put down.

“My mental health was through the roof. I drove to South Shields to jump off cliffs that day.

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“I’ve been left with nothing but regret since that day for getting behind the wheel.

“I wasn’t highly intoxicated, there was two-thirds of a bottle left on the seat.

“The witness said I was slurring my words, but I had a big head injury. My head almost went through the windscreen.

“I’m scared of needles. I said I would take a breathalyser.”

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Magistrates suspended Jackson’s prison term for failing to provide for 18 months and imposed no separate penalty for the two other offences.

He must complete 25 rehabilitation days with the Probation Service and 19 sessions of the Thinking Skill programme, with a £154 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.