Teacher blames drink-drive conviction on cat allergy

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A SOUTH Tyneside teacher was caught out by police while more than double the drink-drive limit - after fleeing a pal’s house due to her allergy to cats.

Samantha Simpson had got in her car to grab her inhaler when her allergy flared up due to two cats being in the house, but made the decision to drive to her home after an evening drinking punch filled with a cocktail of rum and wine.

But the 34-year-old was made to pay for her ‘misjudgement’ when she was banned from the roads for 20 months.

Simpson’s car vehicle was spotted swaying from side to side on the road by patrolling police on Crossgate, in South Shields.

She was spoken to by officers and given a roadside breath test, which proved positive.

She later recorded a sample of 240 milligrammes of alcohol in 100ml of urine – more than two times over the legal limit of 107ml.

Simpson, of Marshall Wallis Road, South Shields, admitted driving with excess alcohol when she appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court. She was hit with a 20-month driving ban by magistrates.

Rehana Haque, prosecuting, said: “At 12.40am on January 25, the defendant was seen driving along Crossgate, her vehicle swaying from side-to-side on the road.

“The police put their sirens on, alerting her to stop. When she was spoken to by police, she showed clear signs of being drunk.

“She was taken to South Shields Police Station and provided a urine sample, which was clearly over the prescribed limit. She has no previous convictions.”

Christopher Brown, defending, said: “She is a lady of exemplary character. She is a teacher at Gateshead College and finds herself in this predicament.

“It was a misjudgement entirely. She has appeared her to plead guilty and is contrite and was honest throughout with the police.

“She had gone to a friend’s house but hadn’t intended to drive back afterwards. She had Prosecco punch, not thinking it would contain too much alcohol.

“Her friend has two cats and she is allergic to cats.

“She felt the effects of this allergy and went to her car to get her inhaler.

“She thought ‘I only live around the corner’ and decided to drive home, but was seen by the police.

“It was not a pre-determined, careless decision to drink and drive. It was a culmination of events.”

As well as being banned from the road, Simpson was also handed a £150 fine and ordered to pay court costs of £85 and a £25 victim surcharge.”