Love split RAF driver banned

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Your - By KEN MCER­LAIN ken.mcer­lain@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk @Etken­m­cer­lain

A ROYAL Air Force lo­gis­tics driver who was due to be sent to Afghanistan faces the prospect of los­ing his job af­ter be­ing given a road ban af­ter be­ing caught drink­ing and driv­ing.

Jack Latham (23) who is based at RAF Wit­ter­ing near Peter­bor­ough de­cided to go out drink­ing in the city on March 13 af­ter split­ting up with his girl­friend, a court has heard.

Although he re­turned to the base in a taxi, Latham then de­cided to drive him­self back to Peter­bor­ough in his Citroen Saxo car af­ter feel­ing hun­gry and choos­ing to go and buy a take­away meal.

But, on his way back to the base, an of­fi­cer no­ticed Latham driv­ing er­rat­i­cally on the A1 as he ap­proached the camp site and de­cided to stop him at the en­try gates to the base.

The of­fi­cer was sus­pi­cious that Latham had been drink­ing and de­cided to call the po­lice.

Latham, who is due to be de­ployed to Afghanistan later this year, was found to have 90 mil­ligrams of al­co­hol in 100 millil­itres of blood - the le­gal limit is 80 mil­ligrams.

Latham ap­peared at Pe­ter­bor- ough Mag­is­trates’ Court on Fri­day and pleaded guilty to one of­fence of drink­ing driv­ing.

He was banned from driv­ing for 12 months, which will be re­duced by three months fol­low­ing the com­ple­tion of drink drive re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion course.

Latham was also fined £500 and or­dered to pay £100 costs.

Re­becca Comp­ton, de­fend­ing said: “He made a very fool­ish decision which he very much re­grets as it could cost him his ca­reer.

“What hap­pened was out of char­ac­ter for him. That evening he de­cided to out drink­ing af­ter split­ting up with his longterm girl­friend and later de­cided to get a take away meal.

“This was pos­si­bly the most ex­pen­sive take away meal he has ever bought in terms of the ef­fects the decision may have.

“But this is not the case of a man driv­ing with ex­cess al­co­hol, he was only just over the le­gal limit.

“Had he driven out to get the food an hour later he may well have been okay.”

Ms Comp­ton added: “The de­fen­dant has been with the RAF for four and a half years, the job is his life and he loves it.

“He is not qual­i­fied to do any­thing else.

“He was due to go to Afghanistan in De­cem­ber this year and has been train­ing to­wards that as­sign­ment.

“How­ever, it goes with­out say­ing that he can­not do that with­out a driv­ing li­cence.

“The RAF now has a very im­por­tant decision to make over his fu­ture.

“They will ei­ther re-as­sign him to do an­other job or they will re­move him from their books com­pletely.”

Ms Comp­ton said: “The de­fen­dant comes to court to­day in the full knowl­edge that he will re­ceive a ban from driv­ing.

“He is also ex­tremely re­morse­ful about mak­ing a stupid er­ror and wants the court to know he will learn from the ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I would urge that it is in the public in­ter­est to make that ban at a min­i­mum level or even be­neath that level.”

No­body from RAF Wit­ter­ing was avail­able for com­ment when con­tacted by The Evening Tele­graph about the case yes­ter­day.

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