Downton Abbey star Brendan Coyle from Northamptonshire in court on drink-driving charge

Brendan Coyle after his court appearance for drink-driving
Brendan Coyle after his court appearance for drink-driving
  • Downton Abbey star had just returned from month-long stay at rehabilitation unit overseas
  • He was stopped by police on his way to his Norfolk home and failed a breath test
  • Magistrates banned him from driving for 50 months and ordered him to carry out community service

Corby-born Downton Abbey star Brendan Coyle was caught drink-driving while returning to his Norfolk home after being at rehabilitation unit in Thailand.

Coyle, who appeared at King’s Lynn magistrates court under the name of David Coyle, was more than twice the drink-drive limit after being pulled over by police on the A149 on January 1.

Lynn magistrates were told earlier today (Thursday, February 11) that Coyle, who is famous for playing Mr Bates on the popular ITV series, had “lively” flight home from a month at the Thai unit.

Coyle, described as a “recovering alcoholic”, was banned for 50 months and given a 12-month community order.

Prosecutor Sally Rose told the hearing police had followed the BMW convertible driven by Coyle on the A149 towards Heacham.

She told the court Coyle was stopped and failed a roadside breath test.

Mrs Rose said he was taken to the Lynn Police Investigation Centre where he blew a lower reading of 98mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.

The 53-year-old actor, of High Street, Heacham, admitted drink-driving.

Mitigating, Steven Dyble told the hearing Coyle had spent the entire month of December at a rehabilitation unit in Thailand.

He added: “I can’t say it was a success as the commission of the offence clearly shows it wasn’t and failed.

“As was made plain to the arresting officer, the flight home was quite lively.”

Mr Dyble told the bench that all the progress made in the previous four weeks had been lost on one flight.

He added: “For a few weeks those who were privileged to know Mr Coyle were very concerned about his wellbeing in general.

“Fortunately on January 16 Mr Coyle admitted himself to the organisation Promise.”

The court heard that Coyle remained there until February 3.

Senior therapist Steven Bember from the Promise organisation also appeared to give evidence on the after-care programme, which includes a two to four-day residential stay every four to six weeks.

The court was also told that Coyle, who has a previous conviction in 2011, has also embarked on the AA 12 steps programme.

Mr Dyble said: “He stands before you a very contrite man who appreciates he has a problem and is doing his best to confront it and very sorry for burdening you with this appearance.”

Probation officer Sharon Cooper told the court that Coyle described himself as a recovering alcoholic for the past four to five years and had felt he was OK to drive.

Mrs Cooper said: “There is a high level of remorse and a lot of relief that he did not hurt any other road users or himself.”

She said he had cancelled work contracts to focus on remaining sober and has taken two months off.

Magistrates disqualified Coyle from driving for 50 months.

He was placed on a 12-month community order with a 15 days rehabilitation activity and ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work.

Coyle was ordered to pay £85 costs and £60 victim surcharge.