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Drink-driver tailed home by customer who saw him buy whisky at petrol station

Grieving Michael Eastwood turned to drink after the death of his wife

Co-operative petrol station, Woodhead Road, Honley.(Image: Huddersfield Examiner)

A DRIVER who bought whisky and soda from a petrol station concerned another customer so much that he followed him home.

Both the customer and a member of staff at Honley’s Co-op Service Station on Huddersfield Road believed that Michael Eastwood had been drinking before he drove off in his BMW.

The grieving widower said he began drinking heavily following the death of his wife of 39 years.

Prosecutor Andy Wills told Kirklees Magistrates’ Court: “He drove off towards Honley Bridge and the customer was so concerned that he got into his car and followed him.

“The defendant was driving no faster than 25mph but he appeared to have difficulty keeping the vehicle in a straight lines and was veering from side to side.

“The witness relayed a commentary to police as he followed him.”

When police arrived at Eastwood’s home on Southgate Fold in Honley, his car was parked on the driveway and he answered the door.

They asked the 65-year-old if he had been drinking and his response was: “Yes, I’ve been drinking all day.”

Police station breath tests showed that he had 74 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.

This was more than twice the legal limit of 35 microgrammes.

Eastwood claimed that all of his drinking was post-driving and that he’d drunk a bottle of wine in the 15 minutes from leaving the petrol station to returning home.

He told police that he’d put this bottle in the bin, but when the officers checked there all they found was an empty bottle of gin.

A hearing earlier this month was told that Eastwood began to drink following the death of his wife earlier this year.

She died in January despite his best efforts to save her by performing CPR.

Eastwood explained that he then suffered a stroke which affected his walking ability and speech.

He told magistrates at the earlier hearing: “I know that I committed a serious offence and I accept there’s a heavy penalty.

“My life would be shattered without a vehicle as I live alone in a remote village and find it difficult to move around without a car.”

Magistrates sentenced Eastwood to a six-month community order with alcohol treatment.

He was banned from driving for 20 months and will have to pay £85 costs and £85 victim surcharge.

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