Drink driver’s family tragedy

A DRUNK driver had a prison sentence suspended after a court heard how he was stopped by police on the anniversary of his son’s death.

Francis Firth, of Mirfield, was pulled over while more than three times over the drink drive limit on October 14. Kirklees Magistrates’ Court heard that 60-year-old Firth was on bail at the time for a similar offence in July.

He was originally sentenced to six weeks in custody, but this was suspended due to exceptional circumstances.

The first incident occurred on July 16 when Firth was discovered drunk in his vehicle while parked on his driveway.

A breath test revealed he had 145 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath – more than four times the legal limit of 35 microgrammes.

Officers stopped him again in October on Thistle Way in Gildersome, with a level of 107 microgrammes of alcohol.

Magistrates heard that the second offence happened on the anniversary of the death of both his mother and son. The 16-year-old died in 2006 after a four-year battle with cancer.

Zahid Majeed, mitigating, said: “He’s ended up being a vulnerable person and accepts he has a problem with alcohol.

“He is dealing with a loss, and with the stress and anxiety it’s come to a head and he cannot cope any more.

“Now he needs to concentrate on the family he has.”

Firth, of Huddersfield Road, Mirfield, has since sold the vehicle and significantly reduced his alcohol intake.

He admitted drink driving.

He was handed a community order with six months of alcohol treatment and 15 days of rehabilitative activities. He was also banned from driving for two years.

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