Drink driver in 100mph crash spared jail because he was 'sleep driving'


Drink driver in 100mph crash spared jail because he was 'sleep driving'

Marine engineer David Hamnett was twice over the drink-drive limit when his car rear-ended another vehicle at 100mph on the M5 in the early hours of July 9, 2011.

Despite this, he has been spared jail time due to the fact he claims he was 'sleep driving' when the accident occurred.

Mr Hamnett, 47, had been drinking whisky and wine before getting behind the wheel of his Volvo S40 while, he claimed, he was still asleep.

He travelled 150 miles at speeds up to 100mph before rear-ending another vehicle and slamming into the motorway's central barrier.

Mr Hamnett had to be cut free from the wreckage by the emergency services, who discovered he was wearing jogging bottoms, a T-shirt and nothing on his feet at the time of the crash.

Shrewsbury Crown Court heard that Mr Hamnett had been 'sleep driving' after getting into his car to drive to Devon, where he works during the week, from his home in Ormskirk, Lancashire.

He said he must have been asleep during the entire drive before the crash in Worcestershire in the early hours as he awoke to find himself trapped in the car.

The director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, Dr Chris Idzikowski was called upon to offer an expert opinion on the condition known as 'parasomnia' and he concluded that it was 'highly unlikely' he could have been asleep behind the wheel without crashing for two hours.

But although Judge Peter Barrie accepted Mr Hamnett had a sleeping disorder and that it was possible he may have got into his car while asleep, he said he had likely carried on with the journey after waking.

Mr Hamnett was convicted of dangerous driving and given a 12-month community order, banned from driving for six months and ordered to take an advanced test.