Cambridgeshire barmaid avoids Christmas jail sentence after being caught five times over drink drive limit

A Cambridgeshire barmaid drink-driving at FIVE TIMES the limit has avoided Christmas in jail.

Friday, 20th December 2019, 2:08 pm

Teeda Emma Sims has instead been handed eight weeks’ custody, suspended for 12 months, and the minimum three-year ban for her second drink-drive offence within ten years.

The legal limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. Sims’ extraordinary reading of 178 is one of the highest seen in court in this area and is off the scale for magistrates’ sentencing guidelines.

Sims (30), of Long Drove, Coldham, Wisbech, was followed and filmed by witnesses as she weaved all over the road, into the path of oncoming traffic and went up and down nearside ditches.

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Drink driving

One of the witnesses following her in the Toyota Rav4 said: “It was being driven erratically. At one point it stopped and I drew alongside to see if the driver was OK. When I tried to speak to her, I got no response – it was as if she didn’t know I was there.”

The man’s passenger then began to film as Sims pulled off. She eventually stopped at The Five Bells in New Road, Upwell.

“She got out of the car and staggered inside. I remained there until police arrived,” said the witness’s statement.

Robyn Khan, prosecuting at King’s Lynn Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, said Sims had been given a bar staff job at the pub just a day before the incident on July 30. The defendant blew 183 micrograms in a roadside test but the evidential one following her arrest was slightly lower.

The court was told that Sims, who pleaded guilty to drink-driving at an earlier hearing, had a previous excess alcohol conviction in 2009 – just inside the ten-year period to be relevant.

Solicitor Ruth Johnson, for Sims, told the bench: “Right from the outset it has been made clear to Miss Sims that, in my view, this crosses the custody threshold.

“The reading of 178 is in excess of the level of alcohol you have on the guidelines. I have said to Miss Sims ‘you are some way above 150. The starting point is 12 weeks’ custody’.”

Miss Johnson urged the bench to suspend any prison sentence as her client had taken steps to address her drink problem and “significant improvements” had been made since the offence in July.

“She’s absolutely devastated by her behaviour. Her primary concern was the risk that she posed to other road users and accepts that she could have been in court for something entirely different,” added Miss Johnson.

Presiding magistrate Louise Gayton told Sims: “This is an extremely serious offence. I don’t need to reiterate the potential that it could have caused.”

As well as the suspended sentence and driving ban, Sims was given a community order with a 12- month alcohol treatment requirement and told to pay £122 victim surcharge and £85 costs.