Drunk driver crashed into Ballycastle’s Christmas tree

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A woman who was more than three times the drink-drive limit and reversed a car into the Christmas Tree in the Diamond in Ballycastle, has been banned from driving for 18 months, a court has heard.

Mary Delargy (43), of Harbour View Apartments, North Street, Ballycastle, had gone to the shops in a Peugeot 206 car on November 17 this year when she struck the festive tree at The Diamond in the centre of the town.

She appeared in the dock at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Friday where a prosecutor said the defendant had an alcohol level of 117 microgrammes with the legal limit being 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath.

Defence barrister Francis Rafferty said it was a “most unfortunate set of circumstances, she had gone to do some messages”.

The lawyer said the defendant made full admissions and “did not attempt to beat about the bush”.

Delargy pleaded guilty to a number of charges including driving with excess alcohol in her breath; absence of insurance and a vehicle test certificate; failing to remain at the scene and failing to report an accident.

Mr Rafferty said the insurance matter had arisen because of the defendant’s “precarious financial position”.

Since the Christmas Tree collision, Mr Rafferty said Delargy had got rid of the vehicle and has not driven since.

Added the barrister: “She is a lady of previously unimpeachable character, she has made a terrible mistake”.

Deputy District Judge John Rea said he took into account the guilty plea and clear record but said the “extremely high reading” would have to be reflected in sentencing.

The defendant was banned from driving for 18 months and she will have to re-sit a test if she wants to get back on the road. She was also fined £375.