Grieving drug driver caught over the limit in Bassetlaw

A grieving learner driver who took drugs before driving to say a “final goodbye” to his dead grandfather was caught over the limit in Bassetlaw.

Thursday, 27th January 2022, 2:44 pm

Police believed Patrick Coughlan was driving a stolen car when they spotted his silver Suzuki Alto on the A1 northbound, at 6.20pm, on July 5, last year.

They followed him on to the slip-road for Blyth where he pulled over and officers described him as “sweating and agitated,” said prosecutor Freddie Sail.

Blood tests revealed the defendant was had 71 mcgs of benzoylecognine, a derivative of cocaine, when the specified limit is 50 mcgs, and 3 mcgs of the cannabis derivative, when the specified limit is 2 mcgs.

Read the latest stories from Mansfield Magistrates Court.

The court heard Coughlan, who only has a provisional licence, has previous convictions for driving while disqualified and received a 20-month ban for driving with drugs in February 2020.

Speaking via a video-link, Coughlan told the court that his grandfather died that night, and he borrowed the car from a friend so he could drive to Manchester "to say my final goodbye”.

He said that anxiety and depression means he can't leave his house.

Coughlan, 38, of Cheddar Road, Birmingham, admitted driving without a licence or insurance, and with excess drugs, when he appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court, on Thursday.

The chair told him: "This is the second incident in recent times when you have been in control of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs."

He was disqualified for three years and fined £120, with £85 costs and a £34 surcharge.