85-year-old East Lancs drink driver had never got over death of wife

JOHN McCAFFREY

JOHN McCAFFREY

First published in News Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

ONE of East Lancashire's oldest drink drivers has been ordered off the roads for three years by magistrates.

Eighty-five-year old John McCaffrey was pulled over by police because he was driving so slowly that a number of cars were left queuing behind him in Stacksteads' Newchurch Road, the Burnley court was told.

He was arrested after his Vauxhall Astra was stopped by officers outside the Rose and Bowl club at 7.30pm and he gave a positive roadside breath test.

But magistrates were told that McCaffrey had been drinking to excess after the death of his wife of 45 years, six weeks earlier.

Prosecutor Parveen Akhtar said that the defendant already had a drink-driving conviction recorded against him dating back to 2009.

The latest incident saw him give a breathalyser reading of 84mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mg.

McCaffrey, of Lord Avenue, Bacup, admitted driving with excess alcohol on June 7 and was disqualified from driving for three years.

He was also fined £110 but the prosecution withdrew an application for costs. Janet Sime, defending, said: “He had lost his wife and struggled with that, and is struggling very much with ill health.

“He is 85 and has a great problem with his hearing and deafness.

“And when he last appeared in court he was going for treatment for cancer.

“That treatment has not helped him and he now has an appointment with The Christie.

“He lost his wife and consequentially he has been drinking more than he should, which he finds helps him to cope with his bereavement.”

The chairman of the bench said that the length of the driving ban was the minimum required by law, given the pensioner’s personal circumstances.

But McCaffrey was told that he was not being offered a drink-drive awareness course, to reduce the disqualification period, as he had previously completed one and had not been rehabilitated, due to his latest court appearance.

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