An Iraq War veteran who got himself "so drunk that he couldn't speak coherently" has avoided going to prison for getting behind the wheel while more than three times the limit after he "panicked" that he was stuck in Welshpool.

Paul Churchill, aged 45, claims that he tried to call friends and taxi companies for a lift after drinking four pints of beer while waiting for two hours for his friend to show up.

The Wrexham man was banned from driving for two-and-a-half years after he admitted the charge of drink driving when he appeared at Welshpool Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, November 7.

Prosecutor Helen Tench said police received a tip off just after 9pm on Sunday, October 10, about a potential drink driver who was described as "so drunk he couldn't speak coherently".

Officers saw Churchill's Tesla parked in High Street before driving to The Raven roundabout and then "slowly and erratically" on the A458 towards Llanfair Caereinion before coming to a stop.


Police noted that Churchill had a "very strong smell of alcohol, was slurring his words and unsteady on his feet" before being taken to the station after failing a roadside test.

Danny Smith, representing Churchill, told the court: "Nothing can excuse a reading of 122 micrograms of alcohol, and I don’t seek to do so.

"The position he had found himself was a very difficult one. A friend intended to collect him, and he found himself in a rural area having consumed alcohol in a very vulnerable situation where he had come off medication.

"His past came to the forefront because for seven years he had served in the army and years were spent in the most difficult times in Basra and Northern Ireland. During his time in that conflict, he saw things that are unimaginable to the lay person. He suffers from high anxiety. He panicked and chose the wrong decision to get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

"He’s a man that is taking good his experience in the military. He has worked for 20 years at international cereal factory. Immediate custody would mean he would lose that job. He’s a family man, with two adult children, still one is reliant on him, and two young children."

County Times:

Probation officer Julian Davies said Churchill, who suffers from PTSD and depression, told him that it was a "stupid decision to drive, he was in panic mode and didn’t give much thought to consequences of actions".

Magistrates banned Churchill, of Ffordd Llywelyn, Wrexham, from driving for 30 months and ordered him to complete an 18-month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work and 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days. He must pay a £114 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.

Chair of the magistrates' bench Rebecca Klug told Churchill: "This could have passed the custody threshold however because of your circumstances we’ve heard in court and the realistic chance of rehabilitation we have decided to deal with this with a high-level community order."