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First published in News

A RACECOURSE trainer who was more than four times the drink drive limit when he crashed into the back of another car was worried his wife was going to die.

Timothy Stephenson crashed his Honda Civic into the back of a Volkswagen Polo on the B4424 at Callow End.

The 50-year-old from Gloucester Road, Castlemorton, near Malvern, failed a roadside breath test and the lowest reading taken at the police station revealed 144mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath, more than four times the limit of 35mcg.

The father-of-two, who crashed his car at around 12.20pm on January 21, admitted driving with excess alcohol when he appeared before magistrates in Worcester on Monday.

Fred Pilkington, prosecuting, said officers could smell alcohol on Stephenson's breath when they attended the scene of the accident. He said up until this incident the defendant had a full, clean driving licence.

Ian Patterson, defending, said Stephenson's wife had battled breast cancer in 2010 and also suffered from diabetes and was taken ill with pneumonia over Christmas. She was given antibiotics but the medication blocked her insulin and she became extremely unwell on New Year's Day. Stephenson called an ambulance for his wife and she was taken to hospital where she spent 21 days and was placed into a medically induced coma. Mr Patterson said: "So grave was her condition that it is no exaggeration to say that the prognosis was at one time that she had a 50-50 chance of pulling through. To cope with the stress and strain of the situation Mr Stephenson turned to drink to try and help him sleep." His wife has since been released from hospital but Mr Patterson said she was 'extremely weak' and would take some time before she recovered her strength. Mr Patterson said Stephenson worked as a racehorse trainer and had been driving since the age of 17 with only two endorsements, both for speeding and one of which went as far back as 1999. Mr Patterson said his client fully co-operated with the police. No-one was hurt in the accident.

Magistrates gave Stephenson a 12 week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months. and banned him from driving for 36 months. He will also be under the supervision of the probation service for 12 months. He was ordered to pay an £80 victim surcharge and costs of £85. If he completes a drink drive course he will have the length of his ban reduced by 252 days. He is banned until February 9, 2017 but, if he completes the course, his ban will end on June 2, 2016. The course must be completed by April 2, 2016 to benefit from the reduced ban.

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