City executive hit five cars after champagne at husband’s birthday
A CITY executive collided with five cars while twice the drink- drive limit after drinking champagne and wine at her husband’s 40th birthday party, a court heard. Mother- of- two Gemma Hewes, 40, begged residents not to call the police after she crashed her Land Rover Discovery, which had young children in the back.
Hewes, a property director with City firm BNP Paribas Real Estate, damaged five cars, including a parked Renault Espace that was written off.
The incident happened on the evening of May 7 in a quiet residential street in Wimbledon, south-west London.
Despite her pleas for locals not to alert police, they had already dialled 999 and she was arrested at the £1.15 million home she shares with her husband Ross Hewes, 40, in nearby Southfields.
Appearing before Wimbledon magistrates, Hewes pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol and driving without due care and attention. The Banned: Gemma Hewes court heard that Hewes – who attended the £35,000-a-year Woldingham School in Surrey – had 74 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.
The impact of the crash snapped the steering column of the Land Rover, and it had to be towed away from the scene by a recovery vehicle.
The drink- driving episode came almost two years after Hewes was recruited by BNP Paribas from her previous job as a City leasing adviser with Deloitte Real Estate. Hewes was fined a total of £1,350 with £85 costs. She was also ordered to pay a £90 victim surcharge and was disqualified from driving for 17 months.
The court heard that at the time of the accident there were ‘two or three’ children in the Land Rover, but it was unclear if any of them were hers.
Outlining the case, prosecutor Paul Poulter told the court that company director Stephen Holsgrove, 57, heard a loud bang outside his home at 8.15pm. ‘His vehicle and four other cars were damaged and he saw a woman wearing jeans trying to get two children out of the Land Rover,’ he said.
‘She then said, “Please don’t call the police... I’ve had a few glasses of wine.” Police officers traced her to her home, where she was crying and upset.
‘She told the officers: “I was driving and using my hands free and hit a car.” She had been in Wimbledon, where she said she had a glass of champagne and two glasses of wine.’
The court was told Hewes had been out with family and friends to celebrate the 40th birthday of her husband, who is a director with G L Hearn, part of Capita Real Estate.
Tom Dunn, defending, told the court: ‘This is a very dark day for Gemma Hewes and her family. She is not a drinker and she rarely drinks. But on this occasion she consumed some alcohol and did not realise she was impaired by alcohol at the time she drove.’
The court heard how Hewes had not been able to eat solid food after a recent operation and was also on medication.
Mr Dunn added: ‘She received a telephone call via Bluetooth and answered and spoke for several minutes.
‘She recalls a parked car protruding and obviously overcompensated and the steering column then broke and she was unable to avoid contact with other cars. Damage is being met by the family out of their own pockets and they both work extremely hard.’
Magistrate Isobel Vass told Hewes: ‘By good luck no one was stepping out and you were distracted and that is related to your alcohol consumption.
‘Anything more than one small glass of wine will put you over the limit.’
‘I’ve had a few glasses of wine’