Woman who drank bottle of wine before driving wrong way around Hunters Bar roundabout avoids jail

A 54-year-old woman, who drank a bottle of wine before driving her car the wrong way around Hunters Bar roundabout while she sounded her horn and swore at fellow motorists, has been spared jail.
A 54-year-old woman, who drank a bottle of wine before driving her car the wrong way around Hunters Bar roundabout while she sounded her horn and swore at fellow motorists, has been spared jail.

A 54-year-old woman, who drank a bottle of wine before driving her car the wrong way around Hunters Bar roundabout while she sounded her horn and swore at fellow motorists, has been spared jail.

During a sentencing Sheffield Crown Court was told how at around 5.15pm on June 21 last year, Anne Bartlett's erratic driving down Newbold Lane, Broomhill gave a number of residents cause for concern.

Prosecuting, Neil Coxon, told the court: "She [a witness] says she saw a 4x4 with a lone female driver, she says it made its way on to the wrong side of the road and through red traffic lights, causing other motorists to take avoiding action.

"It was then seen at Hunters Bar roundabout travelling around 20mph with the horn constantly sounding, travelling towards vehicles coming in the right direction and forcing them to take evasive action."

The court was told how Bartlett, 54, of Lancaster Street, Kelham Island was also seen swearing and making rude gestures towards other road users as she drove.

After leaving the roundabout, Bartlett continued to drive on the wrong side of the road causing several road users and pedestrians, who later gave statements to the police, to fear her driving could result in a fatality, the court heard.

Mr Coxon told the court how in police interview Bartlett eventually told officers that at the point she entered the Hunters Bar round about she had 'consumed a bottle of wine and went to the Co-Op on Ecclesall Road to buy another one'.

The court was told how after buying the bottle of wine she returned home, where she drank some more wine before getting back into her car at around 8pm in order to travel and 'watch the sunset and take some photographs of it'.

She was seen travelling along Herries Road, Shirecliffe and up to a section of the road that had been closed for roadworks a short time after, and the court heard how workmen watched in shock as she drove on the outbound carriageway, over the central reservation and up along the closed section of road.

One such workman, Ian Smith, told police: "I can't believe this woman's driving, it was dreadful. I was especially concerned when she was driving down the A6102 the wrong side of the road. Someone could have been killed."

Bartlett was stopped and arrested by police at around 8.30pm. She was then taken to a police station where she refused to provide breath specimens.

Defending, Dan Foster, told the court how Bartlett had led a successful life until the onset of serious mental health problems.

Mr Foster said that Bartlett's career as a managing consultant and then with an executive function at the Conservative Party had been affected by her mental health problems, which she was suffering from at the time of the offending.

He added that she was 'ashamed' and 'embarrassed' by her offending, and that since it had happened she had been put onto a new type of medication which was helping her to deal with her mental health problems.

"She knows she will have to be on medication for the rest of her life or there is a serious risk of relapse," said Mr Foster.

Bartlett admitted charged of dangerous driving and failure to provide a specimen at an earlier hearing.

Judge Peter Kelson QC sentenced Bartlett to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years.

Bartlett was also disqualified from driving for 12 months, and was ordered to complete a rehabilitation order.