"My driveway is too long to walk," says wealthy widow handed ban for drink-driving
A 56-year-old woman has argued in court that she should not have been served a driving ban after being convicted of drink-driving – as her ¼ mile driveway is too long for her to walk down.
Barbara Woodward told judges at Stockport magistrates court that the paved track to her home in rural Cheshire was so long she would struggle to get around.
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Her lawyer told the hearing: "She had nobody to call upon – no children, no relatives. Yes, she has friends, but they are dotted around the countryside. She has no neighbours and she will struggle to get around."
Woodward was found to be around three times over the legal drink-drive limit when stopped by police at 9am on November 17. She had reportedly driven her £80,000 Mercedes G-Class SUV to purchase sparkling wine with which to make bucks fizz for friends.
After being refused alcohol at a petrol station, police were called as she made her way at 5mph to a nearby post office. One officer said Woodward appeared to have been up all night.
The incident happened two days after the funeral of her husband, a lawyer, who "looked after her in every way," according to a probation officer. "She has never had a pay a bill in her life. She is now struggling."
Woodward told the hearing: "I buried my husband on Wednesday 15th November and the months leading up to it were terrible. He did everything, and then when he died I had to take over.
"I was just so distraught. I have never and will never drive after having a drink. I know it was wrong to have a drink in the car, but I was desperate to get rid of the pain I was feeling."
As well as begging to be spared a driving ban, Woodward asked that she not be served with an order of unpaid work. She had never worked in her life and the order would 'put her in an alien surrounding', she told the courts.
Magistrates spared Woodward the unpaid work, but she was handed a two-year driving ban, ordered to complete a 12 month community order and pay a £560 fine as well as £705 in costs.