Updated: Friday, 17th August 2018 @ 3:48pm

One of Britain’s oldest drink drivers? Christie cancer patient slapped with second ban in FIVE years... aged 85

One of Britain’s oldest drink drivers? Christie cancer patient slapped with second ban in FIVE years... aged 85

| By Jess Owen

One of Britain’s oldest drink drivers and Christie cancer patient has been slapped with his second driving ban in five years – at the age of 85.

Frail widower John McCaffrey, who was disqualified for two years for drink driving in 2009, was stopped by police because he was driving his Vauxhall Astra too slowly through his hometown, near Bacup, Lancs.

As officers asked him to take a breath test, the pensioner, who is hard of hearing retorted:  ‘How long is this going to take? I am on my way to meet a friend’.

Tests revealed he was more than twice the limit.

McCaffrey, who has a previous conviction for drink driving dating back to 2009, claimed he had struggling to cope after the death of his wife from cancer.

At Burnley magistrates court he pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol and banned from driving for three years.

He was also fined £110 and ordered to pay a £20 victim surcharge.

The pensioner was refused a place on a drink-driving awareness course due to his previous conviction.

Magistrate John James told him: “The course is to help stop reoffending and sadly this hasn’t happened here.

“This was the second offence within 10 years. You have now committed a further offence, driving with excess alcohol in a 10 year period.

“The minimum ban we can give is three years. You must not drive any vehicle on a public road during this period. If you do it is a serious offence.''

He added: ''We have listened to what has been said and have taken on board that you did plead guilty at the first opportunity.

“What your solicitor has said about your personal circumstances we have taken on – you are suffering from very poor health and sadly you lost your lovely wife a few weeks before the incident took place.”

Earlier the court had to adjust its microphones so Mr McCaffrey was able to hear the proceedings.

Prosecutor Miss Parveen Akhtar said the incident occurred on June 7 when McCaffrey, who suffers from circulation problems and has prostate cancer, was driving near his home at 7.30pm.

He was driving so slowly a number of cars were left queuing behind.

Officers pulled over McCaffrey, who fully co-operated with the police at the roadside.

He was taken to the police station, where he gave a sample showing 84 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.  The legal limit is 35mg.

McCaffrey had previously been convicted of driving with excess alcohol in 2009, when he had been given a curfew and was disqualified for two years.

In mitigation Janet Sime said: “The situation is really quite distressing. He has been married for 45 years and six weeks before the incident he sadly lost his wife.

“He really struggled with that and he has also been struggling with ill health. He is 85 years old and has very big problems with hearing.

“In addition he was going into hospital the week following his first court appearance on the 17th June, for treatment in respect of his cancer.

"According to Mr McCaffrey it has not helped his pain and he is waiting to go to The Christie Hospital in Manchester.

“Due to losing his wife he turned to drinking heavily to cope with his bereavement. And he knows he should not have driven the car that day.”

The oldest convicted drink driver in Britain is believed to be David Byes, 88, who was banned from the roads for 12 months in February last year after an off duty police officer saw him driving his Skoda erratically on the A14 near Felixstowe, Suffolk.

Story via Cavendish Press.

Image courtesy of miguelrd68, with thanks.