Transplant Games athlete admits drink-drive charge after being caught during police summer crackdown

Emily Potter leaves Portsmouth Magistrates' Court after admitting drink-driving 
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Emily Potter leaves Portsmouth Magistrates' Court after admitting drink-driving (170937-1)
Haslemere Road. Picture: Google Maps

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AN ATHLETE has appeared in court for drink-driving just days after returning from an international competition.

Emily Potter, 19, was in the dock at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court after competing at the World Transplant Games in Malaga.

The kidney and heart valve transplant recipient made the semi-finals while representing Team GB in the individual badminton competition between June 25 and July 2, and the quarter finals in the doubles.

Potter, of Sovereign Lane, Waterlooville, entered a guilty plea to drink-driving after being caught at 3.30am with no lights on in Southampton Road, Portsmouth, on July 15.

Her case was one of several drivers caught in the police’s summer campaign.

Prosecutor Giles Fletcher said: ‘It’s 3.30am in the morning, she’s driving with no lights on.

‘Police are going to stop a car if they see someone with no lights on.’

Potter was pulled over and breathalysed by police, which revealed she was nearly double the legal limit.

The test showed she had 64 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.

As reported, Potter won a bronze medal in South Africa four years ago but was hoping to do better in Malaga with her badminton doubles partner this year.

Engela McMonnies, defending, revealed how after she returned from the games, Potter had been out with friends, got a taxi home, slept but then drove her 66-plate Renault Clio when she was hungry.

‘This is out of character bad judgement,’ Mrs McMonnies said.

‘It’s going to have a real impact on her life not being able to drive.

‘She’s a heart valve and kidney transplant recipient, she needs to drive back and forward to Oxford for appointments.

‘She represents Team GB in the British Would Transplant team and travels to Coventry. She’s returned from Malaga having represented Team GB.’

Mrs McMonnies added: ‘This is a case of driving in bad judgement in that she went out for a few drinks the night before.

‘She took a taxi home, she stopped drinking at 11pm them travelled home in a taxi, and thought when she woke up she would no longer be intoxicated.

‘She was hungry, took her car and drove.’

Mrs McMonnies added Potter said her car lights normally turn on automatically but she had switched that function off the day before.

Potter has no previous convictions. She was fined £240 and banned from driving for a year, with a £24 victim surcharge and £85 costs to pay.

SOLDIER ALSO CAUGHT IN CLAMPDOWN

A SOLDIER and pensioner were among those who were also caught in a police crackdown.

Military base guard Onechhu Sherpa, 39, of Owen Close, Gosport, crashed into parked cars in Franklin Road, Gosport, on the way back from a friend’s child’s party.

He was more than double the limit, with 90 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, city magistrates heard.

Magistrates took into account his exemplary service in the British Army but fined him £600 with a two-year ban.

His commanding officer was in court to watch him plead guilty to drink-driving on July 16.

Peter Winkle, 61, of Hambrook Holiday Park, Broad Road, Hambrook, West Sussex, admitted drink-driving on July 15 in Havant Road, Emsworth.

He was just under double the limit with 61mcg in breath.

Winkle told magistrates he had been to see a friend to help her and had some beer but had an argument and drove, not thinking he would be over the limit.

He was fined £400 with a three-year driving ban, higher as it was his second offence.

And Daniel Pullen , 26, of Town Lane, Petersfield, was caught with 53mcg in breath while driving a Mitsubishi L200 in Bell Hill, Petersfield, on July 14.

Representing himself, he said he had a few drinks over several hours but did not think he would be over the limit.

Pullen said he got lost as he was new to the area, pulled over and was about to ask for directions when the unmarked police car behind him put its lights on and officers breathalysed him.

He was fined £240 and given a 12-month ban.

Sergeant Rob Heard, road safety officer, said: ‘Drinking and drug-driving is totally unacceptable and we have been proactively seeking out those who choose to do so. We run high-profile road checks as well as doing intelligence-led activities to detect offenders.

‘We have been and continue to work with communities to encourage them to let us know who is drink or drug-driving. Unfortunately too many people are still taking that risk and consequences in doing this can devastate innocent families and may end up in a prison sentence or loss of job for the offender.

‘If you do drive impaired then please be aware we will catch you. It’s not worth the risk.’