Couple switched seats following drink-drive crash

Kristina Thorpe and Andrew Aspinall
Kristina Thorpe and Andrew Aspinall

A DRUNKEN illegal driver smashed her partner’s van into a parked car – before the pair switched seats to try and “stop her getting into trouble”.

But the scam landed Hartlepool couple Kristina Thorpe and Andrew Aspinall before magistrates and left them £620 out of pocket.

Thorpe, 23, who does not even have a licence, was banned from driving for 12 months, fined £350, ordered to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Her 34-year-old boyfriend had his licence endorsed with 10 points, was fined £70, ordered to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Prosecuting, Samantha Morgan-Bayliss told Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court that the pair had been drinking in Ye Olde Durhams Social Club, in St Aidan’s Street, Hartlepool, and although Aspinall wanted to walk home, Thorpe insisted on driving.

She said: “The circumstances are that just after midnight the complainants, who live in Stratford Road, heard a loud bang and looked out to see Aspinall getting out of the driver’s side of the vehicle and Thorpe in the passenger seat.

“The Ford Transit van they were in had crashed into their car.

“A police officer on patrol in the street next to Stratford Road was quickly on the scene.

“Aspinall told the officer he had drank eight pints and he was driving the work’s van.

“Thorpe told the officer that she was the driver of the van at the time. They were both breathalysed, arrested and taken to the police station.”

Thorpe had 57 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, while Aspinall had 70 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

She added: “In interview Aspinall said Thorpe insisted on driving home. She’d swerved and crashed into the parked car.

“He grabbed hold of her arm and pulled her into the passenger seat and he jumped into the driver’s seat.

“He tried to start the engine to see if he could move the car, but the engine was dead.

“Thorpe’s version of events was similar. She said she was in a mood and insisted on driving home. He kept telling her to pull over and stop.

“As she turned towards him she turned the wheel at the same time and crashed into the parked car.”

Thorpe, of Stratford Road, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to drink driving, driving without insurance and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence on February 20.

Aspinall, of Beachfield Drive, Hartlepool, admitted being in charge of a vehicle while unfit through drink, on the same date.

Mitigating, Stuart Haywood told justices that Thorpe had never been in trouble with the law before and was “extremely sorry for what had happened”.

He said: “She will be disqualified from driving as a result of the conviction and when she comes to pass her driving test she will probably find that she won’t be able to afford the insurance as a result.”

Mr Haywood added: “The reason why Mr Aspinall told police he was driving was because he didn’t want his girlfriend to get into trouble.”