Man convicted of drink-driving for the fifth time
A serial drink-driver has received a suspended prison sentence after being convicted of the offence for the fifth time.
Matthew O’Neill has also been disqualified from driving for five years following the offence in Emsworth.
The 41-year-old bar steward was stopped in his Land Rover Freelander just yards from his home in Sadlers Walk after police received a tip-off that he may be driving under the influence.
After failing a roadside breath test shortly before 6pm on Wednesday (4 October), he was arrested by PC Tom Van Der Wee, of the Chichester Response Unit, and remanded in custody due to his history of offending.
At Crawley Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (5 October), he pleaded guilty to driving with 73mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in his system. The legal limit is 35mcg.
He was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, and disqualified from driving for five years. He was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, and pay £85 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.
PC Van Der Wee said: “It’s alarming that O’Neill has clearly not learnt from his previous mistakes – this is the third time in the past 10 years he has been convicted of drink-driving, and the fifth time overall.
“His selfish behaviour not only put his own life at risk, but other road users too – particularly at such a busy time of day.
“The fact this is the fifth time he has been brought before the courts for this type of offence highlights his blatant disregard for the law. Sussex Police will not tolerate drink or drug-driving, and officers will respond robustly to reports of this nature. We will also actively target repeat offenders and do all we can to take them off the road.
“O’Neill admitted he had been drinking but insisted he would be under the legal limit, when in fact he was more than twice the legal limit.
“He was swiftly dealt with by magistrates, and I’d like to thank the member of the public who reported him for bringing this dangerous individual to our attention.”
People in Sussex can text officers on 65999 with the details of people they suspect of drink or drug-driving, or visit the Operation Crackdown website.
You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or report it online.
If you know someone is driving while over the limit or after taking drugs, call 999.