Colchester, Essex - A woman of 91 has become one of Britain’s oldest drink drivers after she admitted crashing her Audi A3 Sportback into bollards and a lamp-post in Colchester in June.
Police were called, and they arrested Pauline Horrigan on suspicion of drink driving after she failed two breathalyser tests. On Monday she admitted drink driving and pledged to give up her car - after 76 years behind the wheel without an accident.
She is thought to be the oldest woman in Britain to be caught drivng while intoxicated; the UK's oldest recorded drunk driver is believed to be Andrew Ogston, who was 92 when he was caught over the limit in 2014.
Horrigan, who turns 92 this week, struggled to hear the proceedings and repeatedly asked solicitors in Colchester Magistrates’ Court to speak up. She was recorded with 47 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath - just over the legal limit of 35. Prosecutor Danielle Jones told Colchester magistrates that Horrigan, of West Mersea, Essex, complied with police after she was arrested.
She added: "At quarter past eight in the evening on Sunday 3 June, the defendant drove her grey Audi along Abbots Road, Colchester, where it is said she lost control and collided with the central reservation island, causing her vehicle damage and damage to the street furniture.
‘Police arrived and the roadside test came back as positive, the defendant was arrested and taken to Colchester Police Station. She gave two samples of breath, both being 47 in 100ml of breath.’
Graham Brown, defending, passed a letter to the bench and said his client regretted the crash and will not apply for her licence when her disqualification expires.
"She deeply regrets this incident, as you can see from this letter," he said. "She has driven 76 years without an accident or previous court appearance. As you have seen, she has taken the decision she is not going to drive again."
Chairman of the bench Brenda Pearce credited Horrigan’s guilty plea as she stripped her of her licence and hit her with costs of £319 (R5690).
Alcohol tends to be processed quicker by older people. Experts believe it is to do with an increase in the key enzymes that break down alcohol in the liver caused by greater exposure to the substance.
The first arrest for drink driving was in 1897, when London taxi driver George Smith crashed into a building. He was fined 25 shillings - about R2.50.