Justine McMinn at Stockport Magistrates’ Court in Greater Manchester yesterday
An intensive care nurse was facing the sack today after being caught drink driving on a motorway while on her way home from her first night out with friends since the start of lockdown.
Justine McMinn, 36, who works at Manchester Royal Infirmary, was stopped by police after she was seen swerving around the M6 near Knutsford in Cheshire following a ‘post Covid’ party.
Officers found a Bargain Booze bag containing alcohol inside McMinn’s Alfa Romeo car and a breath test showed she was above the alcohol limit.
She was more than 20 miles from her home in Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire.
At Stockport Magistrates’ Court, McMinn who admitted drink driving, broke down in tears as she apologised for her conduct and said a road ban would mean losing her job at the hospital.
McMinn, who is thought to be engaged, claimed she was trying to steer onto the hard shoulder as she was on a smart motorway. Magistrates disqualified her from driving for a year.
The incident on September 7 occurred after McMinn had been working for six months since Britain’s coronavirus lockdown began in March. At the time of her arrest, Manchester was recording infection rates of 66 cases in every 100,000.
Officers found a bag containing alcohol inside the car being driven by McMinn (pictured)
At Stockport Magistrates’ Court yesterday, McMinn (left and right) broke down in tears
McMinn (pictured) apologised for her conduct and said a road ban would mean losing her job
Gemma Zackrzewsi, prosecuting, said: ‘An officer was driving along the M6 in an unmarked vehicle when their attention was drawn to this defendant’s vehicle as it was swerving between two lanes.
‘The defendant was stopped, the officer spoke to her and the defendant identified herself. The officer noticed she had a Bargain Booze bag with alcohol inside.
‘She was asked to provide a specimen. and when police found 47 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millliltres of breath was the lowest reading she was arrested.
‘This offence falls in a lower category however the prosecution say the fact she was on a motorway was an aggravating feature.’
The legal alcohol limit in breath for driving is 35mcg. The timing of the arrest was not specified but it is believed to have occurred the morning after the party.
McMinn (above) was more than 20 miles from her home in Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire
A breath test carried out by police showed McMinn (pictured) was above the alcohol limit
McMinn (pictured) was fined £438 and offered a place on a drink driving awareness course
Magistrates said McMinn (above) would have faced a bigger fine if she had not pleaded guilty
McMinn appeared unrepresented in court.
She said: ‘I am appalled with myself. I am an intensive care nurse and manager at Manchester Royal Infirmary and we had a ‘post-Covid’ party where we got drunk.
‘I am very sorry. I am so, so, sorry and, in a way, I am glad I was stopped as I was swerving a lot.
‘I have been a working nurse for my whole life and I didn’t think I would ever end up drink driving.
‘I have seen the fallout from drink driving and I will probably lose my job automatically when I am banned.
McMinn (pictured) appeared unrepresented in court and said she was ‘appalled with myself’
McMinn (pictured) said she will ‘probably lose my job automatically when I am banned’
Magistrates disqualified intensive care nurse McMinn (pictured) from driving for a year
McMinn works at Manchester Royal Infirmary (file picture) in the intensive care unit
‘Me and my friends had far too much to drink after we had not been able to see each other due to Covid. We stayed up too late and drank too much.
‘I had to pick up my dogs at a certain time and I was swerving and squeaking in the car. It was a smart motorway and I was trying to get onto the hard shoulder.’
McMinn was also fined £438 and ordered to pay £129 in costs. She was offered a place on a drink driving awareness course.
Sentencing, chair of the bench Alison Edwards said: ‘We can clearly see your remorse. We are grateful for your early guilty plea. The fine would have been a lot more if you had not pleaded guilty.’