Drink-driver who ploughed into four people at Southsea roundabout jailed

JAILED Stephen Beckett
JAILED Stephen Beckett
Portsmouth Crown Court in Winston Churchill Avenue

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FOUR people were run over by a drink-driver who was fleeing a road rage incident.

Stephen Beckett’s victims suffered terrible injuries, including a fractured pelvic bone, a bruised kidney and a fractured rib after the van he was driving mounted the pavement.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard one woman who was run over thought she was going to die.

Beckett, 49, had driven the van about 15 minutes after he and his passenger had drunk half a bottle of vodka he had bought with two Cokes.

He later said he had been driving at about 20mph when the crash happened.

The court heard Beckett abused a taxi driver who tried to pull out at the roundabout between Goldsmith Avenue and Fratton Road in Southsea, then over-steered and got his foot caught on the pedals, causing the crash.

Now Beckett, who has three previous convictions including one for drink-driving in 1998 – has been jailed for 20 months.

A test taken after the crash revealed Beckett’s breath contained 92 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres – more than twice the legal driving limit of 35mg.

Beckett said during interview he had consumed the vodka and Coke about 10 to 15 minutes before the crash, but said it had had ‘no effect’ on his driving and that he wasn’t drunk.

The court heard in Beckett’s defence that he had lost his home, his job, his car and had not driven since the crash.

He admitted dangerous driving, causing serious injury by dangerous driving and one count of drink-driving at 5.45pm on April 23 last year.

Beckett was banned from driving for four years. He will have to take an extended retest before driving again after his disqualification expires.

Addressing Beckett, from Whale Island Way, Portsmouth, Judge Ian Pearson said: ‘I accept that you are truly remorseful and that you have been as co-operative as you can be with the authorities.’

He added: ‘This is a serious offence. It was the equivalent of a road-rage offence so far as the difficulty with the taxi driver is concerned.

‘It is aggravated significantly by the fact you were driving at two-and-a-half times the legal limit.

‘It was an entirely reckless thing to do.’

Judge Pearson said: ‘You created a substantial risk of danger in the manner in which you were driving, having consumed that much alcohol.’