Drunk at the wheel on a mo­tor­way at 1am... so how did bank­ing scion’s ex es­cape driv­ing ban?

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Tim Bu­gler

THE for­mer wife of a mil­lion­aire banker, who was found parked on a mo­tor­way hard shoul­der reek­ing of drink, has es­caped a driv­ing ban af­ter a sher­iff heard that her busi­ness in­ter­ests might suf­fer.

Elaine Grossart, who was mar­ried to Hamish Grossart, a scion of the Scot­tish Noble Grossart bank­ing dy­nasty, ad­mit­ted be­ing in charge of a car on the M9 last Oc­to­ber af­ter con­sum­ing ex­cess al­co­hol.

A court heard the 57-year-old so­cialite gave a breath sam­ple which con­tained 46 mi­cro­grammes of al­co­hol in 100 millil­itres of blood, ex­ceed­ing the then legal limit of 35mg by al­most a third.

How­ever, a sher­iff agreed not to ban Grossart af­ter her lawyer ar­gued it could jeop­ar­dise the fu­ture of two com­pa­nies she ran. In­stead, Sher­iff Gil­lian Wade fined her £800 and or­dered her li­cence to be en­dorsed with ten penalty points.

The de­ci­sion to show le­niency was con­demned by road safety cam­paign­ers. Mar­garet Dekker, of Scot­land’s Cam­paign Against Ir­re­spon­si­ble Driv­ers, said: ‘I am frankly as­ton­ished. She was on the hard shoul­der of the M9.

‘The Gov­ern­ment, the po­lice and the Crown Of­fice are all tak­ing steps to crack down on drink-driv­ing and save lives, but the ju­di­ciary con­tin­ues to take a le­nient view.’

The court was told that Grossart, who won a £2.8mil­lion di­vorce set­tle­ment from her for­mer hus­band, was found by po­lice near Plean, Stir­ling­shire, on Oc­to­ber 18.

Adrian Fraser, pros­e­cut­ing, said of­fi­cers saw the Toy­ota sta­tion­ary at 1am, with its lights on.

Mr Fraser added: ‘They found the en­gine was run­ning, opened the door and spoke to the driver, the ac­cused. She ap­peared to be com­pos­ing a text on her mo­bile phone and she said she had just pulled over to text her son.

‘She was told the hard shoul­der was not a suit­able lo­ca­tion to be do­ing that and she be­gan to ar­gue with the po­lice of­fi­cers.

‘She was no­tice­ably slur­ring her words and re­peat­ing her­self.’

The de­pute fis­cal said there was a smell of al­co­hol in Grossart’s ve­hi­cle and she was asked to go with the of­fi­cers to the po­lice car. He added: ‘She was un­steady on her feet.’

The court heard that Grossart, of Auchter­arder, Perthshire, then gave a pos­i­tive breath sam­ple.

Martin Black, de­fend­ing, asked Sher­iff Wade to use her dis­cre­tion and not ban his client.

Grossart has in­ter­ests in two busi­nesses – the Scot­tish Re­search So­ci­ety, a po­lit­i­cal re­search com­pany of which she is deputy chair­man, and the Na­maste Part­ners hip, a Fife - based busi­ness net­work­ing and mar­ket­ing firm.

Re­fer­ring to Grossart’s busi­ness ac­tiv­i­ties, Mr Black said: ‘The loss of her driv­ing li­cence would place a bur­den and an un­cer­tain fu­ture when it comes to the con­tin­u­a­tion of the busi­ness.’ He added that Grossart also needed to visit her son, 17, and daugh­ter, 14, at board­ing school in Ed­in­burgh.

He said Grossart had been in­volved in what he called ‘an ac­ri­mo­nious di­vorce’ from her for­mer hus­band, the nephew of Sir An­gus Grossart, the founder of the Noble Grossart mer­chant bank, whose fam­ily for­tune is es­ti­mated at £150mil­lion.

Mr Black said: ‘She was in charge of the ve­hi­cle and should not have been. She had not ap­plied her mind to the al­co­hol she had taken be­fore be­ing in charge of the ve­hi­cle.’

Pass­ing sen­tence, Sher­iff Wade told Grossart: ‘This was a se­ri­ous mat­ter, and your record does dis­close a some­what cav­a­lier at­ti­tude to road traf­fic of­fences. How­ever, there is a de­gree of con­tri­tion.’

Asked by a re­porter af­ter the case if she thought she had got off lightly by es­cap­ing a ban, Grossart re­fused to com­ment.

Grossart was the sec­ond wife of Hamish Grossart, chair­man of the Royal Doulton pot­tery group.

Fol­low­ing the cou­ple’s bit­ter di­vorce battle in 2008, it emerged that Grossart had bugged her then hus­band’s phone at the Pit­lour Es­tate in Perthshire to dis­cover if he was hid­ing mil­lions of pounds from her and her legal team.

Four years ago, Mr Grossart wed for a third time, ty­ing the knot with di­vorced mother-of-three El­iz­a­beth Stir­ling – known to friends as Plum – af­ter what was de­scribed as a ‘whirl­wind ro­mance’.

‘Slur­ring her words’ ‘Cav­a­lier at­ti­tude to traf­fic of­fences’

Ex-wife: Elaine Grossart and inset, ex-hus­band Hamish

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