A former Mayor of Calderdale who sank into alcoholism has been banned for drink-driving.
Rastrick Tory councillor Ann McAllister, 63, described in court as a “recovering alcoholic”, had quit drinking two years ago.
She was also attending weekly sessions at Alcoholics Anonymous, Kirklees magistrates heard yesterday.
But she hit the bottle again when she was diagnosed with a degenerative back condition which would always leave her in pain.
McAllister was seen stumbling near her Vauxhall Tigra car close to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary last month.
She was found to be more than three times over the drink-drive limit and was banned for two years and given a 12 month community order with 40 hours’ unpaid work.
She also had to pay £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.
McAllister, a former council leader, admitted driving with 117mgs of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The limit is 35mgs.
Her ban will be cut by a quarter if she completes a drink-drive rehabilitation course.
Ms Vanessa Schofield, prosecuting, told how Belfast-born McAllister – elected mayor in May 2010 and a councillor since 2000 – was seen near the hospital at 7.10pm on August 29.
She slipped near her car and a witness asked if she was all right. There was an empty wine bottle nearby.
McAllister drove off but the witness followed.
Other members of the public rang police to report her erratic driving. She clipped the wing mirror of another vehicle.
McAllister stopped in Acre Street, Lindley, and the witness approached and a bottle top was thrown out of the window.
The witness grabbed the keys from the ignition and waited until police arrived.
Officers asked McAllister if she had been drinking and she replied: “I’ve had one or two Martinis.”
She smelled strongly of alcohol and was arrested.
When interviewed she was co-operative and said she had drunk two bottles of white wine with friends.
Ms Eleanor Reyland, for McAllister, said her client was “extremely remorseful.”
Ms Reyland added: “She is a recovering alcoholic and prior to this she had not touched alcohol for two years.
“She had had a lower lumbar problem but this had just been diagnosed as degenerative and she had difficulty coming to terms with that.
“This was an extremely foolish action and she turned to drink which was previously her crutch.”
Ms Reyland said McAllister’sr drinking became a problem on the death of her father in 2001.
She attended Alcoholics Anonymous once a week.
Before she was sentenced magistrates had a ‘stand-down’ probation report prepared.
The court heard that McAllister retired in 1997 and her mother had suffered a stroke and her sister’s marriage broke down.
Her father died of lung cancer despite not being a smoker.
McAllister lives with her sister in Rastrick.
She stood down as mayor midway through her 12-month term due to “ill health”.
Chairman of the bench Paulette Huntington told McAllister: “Life is not going to be easy for the next couple of years but hopefully you can come out of the other end.”