‘I’m sorry,’ drink-driver tells crash homeowner

Car in house.

Car in house. - Credit: Archant

A drink-driver apologised for turning a pensioner’s life ‘upside down’ after crashing his car into her Sidmouth home at 4am.

Matthew Jones, 21, was this week banned from driving for 14 months by a district judge following the incident in Ladymead in the early hours of August 2.

Jones, of Salterton Road, Exmouth, pleaded guilty to a charge of drink-driving at Exeter Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

The court heard that a woman lived alone at the house and could not return as the damage had left the property unsafe.

Jones was told by district judge Stephen Nicholls that he was disqualified from driving for 14 months, with the option to take a drink-driving rehabilitation course to reduce the ban.

He was issued a 12-month community order and 80 hours of unpaid work.

Jones was also ordered to pay £295 in court costs.

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The court heard that police arrested Jones on Sunday, August 2, after he was breathalysed with a reading of 46 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath.

The court heard that the defendant’s red Nissan Primera crashed through a fence and into the property.

Prosecutor Lindsey Baker said the Jones had been out in Honiton with his girlfriend and her sister.

He drank ‘three or four pints’ and three alcopops before taking a taxi back to the sister’s flat in Sidmouth, the court heard.

Mrs Baker said Jones had an argument with his girlfriend and got in his car.

Mrs Baker read out an account from a male witness and said: “He could see a male coming out of the hole [after the crash] and described the defendant.

“He was swearing, saying he wasn’t staying and that he was going to see his girlfriend. The witness told the defendant to stay but was sworn at.

“The witness told the defendant ‘you left your car parked in my neighbour’s garden’.”

Representing himself, Jones told the court he was sorry for the damage he caused after he lost control of the vehicle.

The defendant had only passed his test on June 11 this year, the court heard.

Jones said: “I am completely devastated that I have done it. I wish I had a remote that I could turn back time with for doing such a stupid thing. My thoughts go out to the lady in question whose property I crashed into. I had no idea of the level of damaged I caused. I have turned her life upside down.

“I’m more than happy to do the unpaid work. I have turned my life upside down and cannot even imagine [what it’s like] for the lady, who cannot be home with her personal belongings.”