Job axe fear for teacher

Banned three years af­ter hus­band re­ports her to po­lice

Ayrshire Post - - FRONT PAGE - Sarah Hil­ley

An Ayr teacher could lose her job af­ter driv­ing out of her school car park while SIX times over the drink limit.

A sher­iff banned Kris­tine Gille­spie and said the Bel­mont Acad­emy teacher could have been jailed.

A teacher could end up job­less af­ter driv­ing out of her school car park while SIX times over the limit.

A sher­iff banned Kris­tine Gille­spie from the road and said the Bel­mont Acad­emy home eco­nom­ics teacher could have been jailed.

Sus­pended Gille­spie spent a night in the cells af­ter her hus­band John, who has cancer, re­ported her for drink driv­ing.

She steered their Nis­san Mi­cra out of the high school. John’s call sparked a po­lice search and of­fi­cers traced the mum to her nearby Ayr home. A breathal­yser test showed she was six times the le­gal al­lowance, Ayr Sher­iff Court heard.

De­pute fis­cal Ja­cob Tom­nay told the court Gille­spie, 52, had sep­a­rated from her hus­band of 26 years. John turned up at their Hawthorn Drive home on Mon­day, Septem­ber 11 look­ing for his Mi­cra, which was nowhere to be seen.

He left the house af­ter notic­ing she was un­der the in­flu­ence and went on the hunt for his car, the court heard.

Mr Tom­nay said: “He saw Mrs Gille­spie mak­ing her way to the car park of Bel­mont Acad­emy and the Nis­san Mi­cra car. He said if Mrs Gille­spie drove off he would phone the po­lice. She drove off. Mr Gille­spie con­tacted the po­lice.”

When po­lice traced her at the house of­fi­cers no­ticed the ex­haust pipe of the Mi­cra was still warm.

Mr Tom­nay con­tin­ued: “When of­fi­cers spoke to her at 12.45pm she told of­fi­cers she had a bot­tle of Peroni with her lunch.”

But a breath test re­vealed she had 132 mi­cro­grammes of al­co­hol in 100 millil­itres of breath - the le­gal al­lowance is 22 mi­cro­grammes.

Mr Tom­nay said when Gille­spie was cau­tioned and charged, she replied: ‘ I didn’t do it.’

Lawyer Jill Mol­loy, de­fend­ing Gille­spie, said: “At the time of the of­fence she and her hus­band has re­cently sep­a­rated. It came as a shock to her.”

Ms Mol­loy said he moved out tak­ing one of their chil­dren with him - which Gille­spie strug­gled with.

The lawyer said: “She has a sig­nif­i­cant al­co­hol prob­lem. She has been us­ing al­co­hol to try and cope with mat­ters.”

Ms Mol­loy con­tined: “She is cur­rently sus­pended from em­ploy­ment on full pay. An on­go­ing dis­ci­plinary process is in place. She may lose her em­ploy­ment.”

Sher­iff Mactag­gart said she was con­cerned by the “ex­tremely high read­ing” and Gille­spie’s “re­luc­tance” to accept the ex­tent of her “dif­fi­cul­ties.”

She told Gille­spie: “If you are go­ing to sort out this is­sue you have to be hon­est with your­self and the peo­ple who are try­ing to help you.”

And hold­ing back from a jail sen­tence, the sher­iff told her: “with­out any crit­i­cism I could send you into cus­tody” to pro­tect the pub­lic.

Gille­spie was banned from driv­ing for three years and must un­dergo 18 months su­per­vi­sion in the com­mu­nity while at­tend­ing al­co­hol treat­ment.

Kris­tine Gille­spie The cook­ery teacher could lose her job

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