Hebburn man caught drink-driving claimed he had taken daughter to safety

A South Tyneside dad drank for six hours then drove at three times the limit after a day out turned sour.

Michael Rice, 40, got behind the wheel after claiming his partner was attacked by two men.

Rice, of Bruce Drive, Hebburn, drove his daughter a street away to safety and returned to the venue in his blue BMW, a court heard.

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But police had been called at 6pm on Sunday, April 3, after a report he had been disruptive and abusive to staff at the Lakeside Inn in Jarrow.

South Tyneside Magistrates Court.South Tyneside Magistrates Court.
South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

Prosecutor Jonathan Stirland said they approached him after he parked and he was breath tested after smelling of booze.

Mr Stirland told magistrates in South Tyneside: “The officers attended after a report from staff of a male being aggressive and refusing to leave.

“They said the male was with a woman and a child and that he was heavily drunk and had been drinking since about noon.

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“The defendant had by then left but a member of the public informed police that the man had returned in the same vehicle.

“An officer approached the vehicle, which was parked at the rear of the pub and had not been there when they arrived.

“He noticed the man’s speech was slurred and he wasn’t making much sense and his eyes were glazed.

“An aggravating feature is that he was driving with passengers, his partner and his child it would seem.”

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Dad-of-two Rice, a food firm shift leader, gave a reading of 101mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.

He pleaded guilty to drink-driving – and the court heard he had committed the same offence in 2010.

Rice had been at the pub with his partner, and they had been joined by his 16-year-old daughter on her way home from work, it was said.

Ian Cassidy, defending, said: “He doesn’t accept that he was aggressive or behaved badly.

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“He says that his fiancée was attacked in the car park by two men. He put his daughter in the car for safety.

“He drove her away, and she got out. He drove back.”

Magistrates banned Rice from driving for two years and fined him £730, with £85 court costs and a £73 victim surcharge.