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Hemsby crash driver twice alcohol limit

PUBLISHED: 10:28 01 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:11 03 July 2010

A promising Norfolk soldier has been denied any chance of promotion for the next two years after he pleaded guilty to drink driving yesterday.

Richard Prettyman, a corporal who has served in Iraq, crashed his BMW into a wall in Hemsby, near Yarmouth on Saturday after he had drunk about four pints.

A promising Norfolk soldier has been denied any chance of promotion for the next two years after he pleaded guilty to drink driving yesterday.

Richard Prettyman, a corporal who has served in Iraq, crashed his BMW into a wall in Hemsby, near Yarmouth on Saturday after he had drunk about four pints.

Because Prettyman admitted drink driving and was banned for 15 months from getting behind the wheel yesterday, army regulations meant he would miss out on a chance of being promoted to sergeant next month.

The 24-year-old will also be barred from progressing up the ranks for two years.

Despite his promotion blow, magistrates told Prettyman they hoped he would continue to serve his Queen and country.

Yarmouth Magistrates' Court heard that Prettyman had crashed his BMW into the wall in Martham Road, Hemsby as he was driving to his home on Saturday evening.

Rob Barnwell, prosecuting, said that after the crash police noticed Prettyman appeared to be “unsteady on his feet” and was “swaying”.

Mr Barnwell said “He believed he had fallen asleep at the wheel.”

A breath test showed Prettyman had a reading of 69 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - nearly twice the drink drive limit of 35 microgrammes. He had been drinking with a friend and had at least four pints.

The court heard Prettyman had an unblemished army record, including a seven month tour of Iraq last year, and had suffered emotional turmoil from knowing colleagues killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

His solicitor Damien Moore said Prettyman, who had no previous convictions, was also totally remorseful and embarrassed by his actions from Saturday.

Mr Moore, describing the blow to his client's promotion hopes, said: “The repercussions of this are quite serious as far as his career in the army is concerned.”

As well as a 15 month driving ban Prettyman was fined £250 and ordered to pay £75 costs.

Chair of the bench Dr Rodney Edrich said: “You are obviously remorseful about this unfortunate incident. Good luck with your army career and don't be tempted to leave because of this misfortune.”

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