Ex-headteacher, 42, was four times the limit when she drove 30 miles after turning to drink in lockdown
- Motorist spotted Katherine Reeves driving erratically all over the road and bend
- Police officers found she was unsteady on her feet and her speech ‘laboured’
- Court heard Reeves, of Telford, had ‘personal problems’ leading her to drink
- She had previously been principal at Aurora Hanley School, in Bucknall
Katherine Reeves (pictured) was four times the legal alcohol limit when her car was pulled over by police after she turned to drink during lockdown
Former headteacher Katherine Reeves was four times the legal alcohol limit when her car was pulled over by police after she turned to drink during lockdown.
A fellow motorist became concerned about Reeves’s driving as he followed her vehicle and called the police.
When officers stopped the 42-year-old’s Renault Megane, they found she was unsteady on her feet and her speech was ‘laboured’.
Magistrates at North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard Reeves had driven more than 30 miles before she was pulled over in Trentham on October 3.
Prosecutor Emma Thompson said: ‘At about 1.45pm in Longton Road, a witness returning from work was following the defendant and watched her swerving all over the road. At one point she mis-negotiated a bend.
‘He was so concerned about her driving that he called the police.
‘Police arrived and pulled her over. Her speech was laboured and she was unsteady on her feet. She failed to provide a specimen of breath at the roadside but at the police station she did provide one.
‘The reading was 139 micrograms in 100 millilitres of breath, which is four times the limit of 35.’
Reeves went on to plead guilty to driving while over the alcohol limit. She had no previous convictions.
The court heard she had previously worked as a headteacher and was currently looking for a new job. She was principal at Aurora Hanley School, in Bucknall, when it opened in 2017 but later left.
Gwyn Lewis, mitigating, said Reeves, of Isombridge Lane, Telford, had a number of personal problems that led to an increase in her alcohol consumption.
Mr Lewis said: ‘She is educated and has had quite a glittering career as a teacher and headteacher at a number of different institutions.
Reeves previously worked as a principal at Aurora Hanley School, in Bucknall, (above) when it opened in 2017 which she later left and is now looking for a new job
‘In this past year she has had a lot of pressure put upon her. Her mother and step-father have both had serious health problems.
‘Her landlord terminated the agreement regarding her accommodation with short notice meaning she and her partner had to move from four-bed to a one-bed property – in an annexe at a farm – and she also has a number of animals to look after.
‘She had decided she was going to take a break from work, then on top of that came lockdown.
During lockdown she started to drink more. She had never seen drink as a problem before – it’s only when this incident happened it has brought it into focus.
‘It has been a watershed moment and has led to a complete change in her thought processes with regard to alcohol. She has sought help.’
Mr Lewis said that the night before the offence, Reeves had ‘a fair bit to drink’ before going to bed.
Magistrates at North Staffordshire Justice Centre (pictured) heard Reeves had driven more than 30 miles before she was pulled over by police in Trentham on October 3
In the early hours she received a call to say her partner’s daughter was in labour. Her partner left and Reeves had more to drink.
Mr Lewis said: ‘In the morning she got up, did her normal routine walking the dogs and looking after the animals. Then she set out on the journey.
She had driven a number of miles before she encountered this individual. She had gone over to the other side of the road to avoid a puddle.’
Mr Lewis asked magistrates to consider imposing an alternative sentence to custody because a custodial sentence on Reeves’s record would impact on her ability to work in education.
But the bench said the offence was so serious that only a prison sentence – albeit suspended – was appropriate.
Reeves was handed a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and disqualified from driving from 32 months.
The ban will be reduced if she completes a drink drive rehabilitation course. She must also pay £135 court costs and a £128 victim surcharge.
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