An ex-cop who drove his Jaguar to court while drunk to answer a string of drink driving charges has been spared jail after a judge said he would not be “comfortable” in prison.
David Slinn, 59, was due to appear at court after officers found him asleep in his £30,000 car on his driveway with a bottle of gin on the front passenger seat.
When Slinn appeared at North Staffordshire Magistrates’ Court on September 4, officers smelt alcohol on his breath and CCTV footage revealed he had driven into the car park while drunk.
A breath test showed he was almost twice the legal limit and he was arrested again on suspicion of drink driving.
Slinn – an officer with Staffordshire Police until he retired in 1999 – admitted the charge when he appeared at court on Wednesday.
He was slapped with a five-year driving ban and handed an 18-week prison sentence suspended for two years after the magistrates were told his role in the force would make it “uncomfortable” for him in jail.
He was also placed under supervision for two years and ordered to attend a drink drivers’ programme.
Clair Moss, prosecuting, told the court: “He was unsteady on his feet and smelled of alcohol. CCTV footage was viewed and he had driven to court on his own.”
Slinn was first arrested when police investigating a report of drink driving found him asleep with a bottle of gin in his car on the drive of his home in Cheadle, Staffs., on June 28.
He refused to have a breathalyser test and was charged with failing to provide a specimen for analysis.
Less than a month later, he was again caught at the wheel of his car after going on a pub crawl and a breathalyser test revealed he was more than twice the drink drive limit.
When he was questioned by officers he told them he had an empty bottle of gin in the car which he was taking for recycling.
He appeared again at court for all three offences and admitted failing to provide a specimen, drink-driving and being drunk in charge of a vehicle.
Tony Cooke, defending, said: “This is unfortunate. He came to court, he was aware he might lose his licence.
“The police officer thought he looked a bit unsteady on his feet. The decision was made to check if he had driven.
“He had. He was not aware he was over the limit. He was drinking the night before.
“This is not a sinister, deliberate attempt to thumb his nose at court.
“This is a gentleman who has been used to serving the public in the past. Someone with that background would not be comfortable in prison.
“He is starting to realise there is a problem and he needs help.”
In a victim impact statement, Slinn’s daughter Lauren said: “Since his arrest, his verbal abuse on a daily basis has been emotionally draining.
“After the arrest he continued to drink. My sister died in a road accident, not drink-related, and I can’t understand why he would want to do this.”
Mark Judson, chairman of the Staffordshire branch of the National Association of Retired Police Officers, said: “I wouldn’t say drink was a particular problem with the police, or retired police, it’s a problem in general society.
“Let’s hope he can get the help he needs to put him back on the straight and narrow. History would show it’s a pretty bleak future if he doesn’t.”