Disqualified Northampton man, 29, jailed for driving dangerously on M1 while drinking from concealed wine bottle

Mansfield took his mum's car without permission despite being banned, having no insurance and inebriated

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 8:30 am

A Northampton man has been jailed after driving dangerously on the M1 in his mother's car while disqualified and drinking from a concealed bottle of wine.

Thomas Mansfield took his mother's Ford Fiesta without permission before driving erratically on the outer lane of the M1 at speeds of between 60-100mph in July.

The 29-year-old, of Eden Close, Boothville, was stopped by police cars who found he had been drinking from a concealed bottle of wine but he refused to be tested for his alcohol level.

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Northampton Crown Court

Recorder William Davis sentenced Mansfield to six months in prison at Northampton Crown Court today (Tuesday, October 12) after he previously pleaded guilty.

"You were driving erratically and plainly causing danger to other vehicles. You were clearly under the influence of alcohol. Plainly this was an extremely dangerous situation," the judge told him.

"It's very alarming that you should be driving at speeds like at that at all on the M1, let alone under the influence of alcohol, and there could have been a serious accident causing injury or death."

Steven Taylor, prosecuting, explained Mansfield took his mum's car from outside their house, where he also lives, after she returned from the cinema at around 11.10pm on July 21, using his father's keys.

A broken bottle of vodka was found where the Fiesta had been left so his mother called the police as she was concerned he could be drunk and was disqualified from driving.

Mansfield has been banned from driving since 2013 and cannot get his licence back until he completes an extended retest, which he has not done.

A police officer stationed himself on a bridge over the M1 near Watford Gap and spotted a grey Ford Fiesta which could have been the defendant and made after him.

The officer got close enough to read the licence plate, which confirmed it was the defendant, and observed the car driving erratically in the outer lane on the northbound carriageway.

After about 15-20 minutes, in which time Mansfield's car had crossed into other lanes and put his indicators on for no reason, other police cars arrived and forced him to stop near junction 22 in Leicestershire.

As well as the bottle of wine, the defendant's eyes were bloodshot and he smelled of alcohol so was clearly inebriated, Mr Taylor said.

Mansfield told officers he had drank four bottles of wine and a bottle of vodka but refused to take a breathalyser or blood test.

The defendant told the Probation Service he was not drunk as he could remember what happened as he was driving to Leicester to get drugs from a friend.

Mansfield added that he had started drinking and doing drugs more heavily after his relationship broke down soon before they had planned to move to Newcastle together.

Mr Taylor said: "He said he borrowed the car without thinking and hadn't considered the consequences. He feels totally ashamed, he wishes it never happened and it was a silly mistake."

Mansfield asked the judge to give him another chance by not jailing him immediately and he would comply with any court order this time despite not doing so as recently as last year.

Recorder Davis decided not to suspend the six-month sentence 'regrettably' because he poses a risk to the public while driving and his 'poor history' of compliance with court orders.

As well as the jail term, Mansfield was also disqualified from driving for a further two years and three months.

"It is greatly fortunate that you are not being dealt with for a more serious offence," the judge told the defendant.