Complaints handler drank at work before driving

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court

A complaints handler who couldn’t cope with her job got drunk at her desk and wrote off her car on the way home, while almost four times the limit, a court heard.

Alicia Llewellyn was found sitting on a wall next to her damaged Daihatsu, smelling of drink, after she hit a stationary vehicle. She repeatedly told police she was sorry. The 27-year-old blew 129 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath after the 5-40pm smash. The legal limit is 35.

Burnley magistrates were told Llewellyn, who worked in Padiham, had recently been promoted and been given the responsibility for dealing with complaints, but hadn’t been trained in it and had been struggling.

A probation officer told the hearing: "She approached her manager, who she found less than supportive and who basically told her she should be grateful for the job and get on with it.”

The court was told Llewellyn then went out and bought alcohol on her break - although she said she doesn’t like the taste of it - and downed it at her desk. She didn’t remember getting into her car, but did recall the police arriving.

Llewellyn, who lives with her grandmother, is now suspended from work without pay, but hopes to teach English on the internet and be a freelance writer.

Mrs Philippa White (prosecuting) told the magistrates police were called to an emergency on Whalley Road, Read. She continued: "Officers noted her eyes were glazed and she appeared very emotional." The defendant was arrested after a positive roadside breath test and taken to the police station.

The prosecutor said Llewellyn was interviewed and said she had a drink problem. Mrs White added: "She was very open and honest and remorseful with officers and essentially made a full and frank admission.” She had no previous convictions.

The probation officer said Llewellyn was intelligent and articulate and fully realised her driving could have had serious consequences. She went on: ”She just thanks God that nobody was injured.”

The officer said Llewellyn was a binge drinker and could go several months without alcohol. The officer continued: "She tells me she doesn’t like the taste. She drinks to cope with negative emotions and feelings and will just drink and drink.”

The defendant, who attends Alcoholics Anonymous, had not had a drink since the offence and had no intention of doing so.

Greame Pakinson (defending) said: "When she was doing the old part of her job she enjoyed it, but when she was out of her comfort zone and given responsibility she couldn’t cope and didn’t get support from management.”

Llewellyn, of Henthorn Road, Clitheroe, admitted driving when the alcohol level was above the limit, on Whalley Road, on August 1st.

She was given a nine-month community order, with a 15-day rehabilitation activity requirement and was fined £120, with £85 costs and a £90 victim surcharge. She was banned for 29 months.