Drink-driver caught out by DNA after fleeing crash and lying to police
PUBLISHED: 06:30 26 November 2019 | UPDATED: 07:40 26 November 2019
A drink-driver ran from the scene of a collision and lied to police about who was behind the wheel.
James Robertson fled the crash he caused near Mildenhall on May 4 and later tried to convince police a friend had been in control of his company car - until DNA from the driver's airbag disproved his story.
The 25-year-old appeared at Suffolk Magistrates' Court to admit failing to stop and driving with 152 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood - the legal limit being 80mg.
A resident of Turnpike Road, Red Lodge, spotted him running towards a wooded area after crashing his Volkswagen Golf into two parked cars just after 2am.
Prosecutor Lesla Small said: "Police searched the area and came across Mr Robertson further up the road.
"He said his friend was driving and that he was a passenger."
A sample of blood was taken when Robertson attended hospital to be checked over.
In a police interview, he remained vague, claiming he consumed a few beers at his girlfriend's address before walking home to Bridge Farm Close, Mildenhall, on foot.
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Realising he left his door keys behind, Robertson claimed he asked someone in the street for a place to stay, and asked the passing acquaintance to act as chauffeur.
"He didn't know any details of that person," said Ms Small.
"Just a rough age, height and skin colouring.
"He said the driver fled the scene and that he went to look for him."
Robertson made no comment during a second interview in July, when police had obtained matching DNA from the airbag.
John Hughes, mitigating, said Robertson had been advised by another legal representative to make no comment in interview.
Robertson later explained he had argued with his girlfriend - leaving with only his car keys and a bag containing some clothes.
After unsuccessfully calling taxi firms, he phoned a friend, who offered him a place to stay in a nearby village, where he had been heading when the crash happened.
Mr Hughes said Robertson panicked, fled and fabricated a story, but was deeply remorseful and apologetic.
Robertson, who lost his job as a result of the prosecution, was banned from driving for 22 months and handed a 12-month community order, including 150 hours of unpaid work.