Ebbw Vale dad spared jail after drink driving

A DEVOTED father from Ebbw Vale has been spared an immediate jail term after a drink-drive offence following the collapse of his business.

Leslie Cantle appeared in Newport Crown Court on charges of dangerous driving while under the influence of alcohol, and failing to stop, after crashing into a minibus earlier this year, causing around £300 damage.

But, despite admitting the offence in police interview, Judge Christopher Vosper QC decided not to jail the resident of Primitive Place, Beaufort.

In handing him a suspended sentence, the judge said he had considered the effect on Cantle’s partner – who had been supporting the family financially – and their autistic son, to whom Cantle was decribed as a “devoted dad”.

Cantle, 41, was followed by the driver of the minibus following the crash in October, as he “swerved” dangerously across the road in his Mitsubishi car.

It was said in court to be a miracle that nothing was coming the other way.

He was eventually forced to stop on the Heads of the Valleys road after mounting a kerb and causing a tyre blow-out.

He was picked up by police officers and gave a breath reading of 126 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

The court heard he had begun drinking at the Severn Arches pub in Ebbw Vale, after “winding up” his business earlier that day. A self-employed carpenter, he had to surrender his business after developing a degenerative back condition and severing tendons in his left hand.

Andrew Jones, defending, said: “He sought sanctuary in drink. He bitterly regrets what he has done.”

During his sentencing, both Cantle and his partner – present in the gallery – broke down in tears.

Judge Vosper said: “This may be a period of your life which you put behind you when you sort out your drinking.”

Cantle was handed a 12-week sentence suspended for 12 months for dangerous driving under the influence. No separate penalty was handed down for failing to stop. He was ordered to undertake 100 hours of unpaid work, and pay costs of £340, along with compensation of £300. He was disqualified from driving for two years.

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