Driver who was seven times limit stopped in Bo’ness

Barkhouse appeared at Falkirk Sheriff Court today
Barkhouse appeared at Falkirk Sheriff Court today

A driver who was seven times the drink drive limit was warned he faces jail.

Garry Barkhouse (48), had drunk a bottle-and-a-half of neat vodka in one afternoon, Falkirk Sheriff Court was told today.

He was arrested at the wheel of his daughter’s Vauxhall Astra in Bo’ness after a call from a concerned member of the public who phoned in to say they had seen a car being driven by a drunk.

Traffic policeman Paul James said he and a colleague went to the scene of the siting, in Corbiehall and saw Barkhouse drive slowly towards them and park.

PC James said it was “immediately apparent” that the driver was heavily under the influence.

He said: “He was kind of slumped, slurring his words, and smelling of alcohol.

“He was quite incoherent about where he was.

“I had to help him take get his seatbelt off. He was very unsteady on his feet and I had to physically conduct him to the rear of the police vehicle. At that point I noticed he had urinated himself.

“He told me he had fallen out with his partner and had been drinking heavily all weekend.”

Barkhouse was taken to Falkirk police station and gave a breath sample that contained 157 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres, more than seven time the legal limit which is 22.

The incident happened on September 21 last year at around 4.30pm.

Barkhouse, of Links Road, Bo’ness, who lives on disability benefits because of a “back injury”, denied drink-driving and claimed he had just got into the car to get some tobacco. He said the police were “lying” when they said they had seen it moving.

Finding him guilty after a brief summary trial, Sheriff Craig Caldwell said he had to weigh up “two competing versions” of evidence.

He said: “On the one hand I have the Crown case, from two sober and professional road policing officers with over 40 years experience between them.

“On the other hand I have an intoxicated, incoherent – and incontinent – individual who says he wasn’t driving.

“I don’t accept his evidence.”

Sheriff Caldwell deferred sentence until February 2 for background reports.

He told Barkhouse: “You were over seven times the legal limit. You should have been nowhere near a car, but that was a decision that you took, and it put other road users and pedestrians at very significant risk indeed.

“It is likely, depending on the terms of any report, that I will conclude that only a prison sentence is appropriate, given the level of alcohol you had consumed.”