Thu. May 19th, 2022

A corporate lawyer who was caught four times over the limit for drink-driving in his Range Rover after drinking red wine for lunch and blaming a friend’s homemade herbal tea has been jailed.

Louise Taylor, from Sandbach in Cheshire, shared a bottle of red wine with a friend before getting the ‘disgusting’ Kombucha drink.

But her lawyers claimed that the wrong type of yeast – a brewery variety – had been used in the drink, making it alcoholic.

The 41-year-old said she dropped ‘two glasses’ of tea before taking a water bottle filled with the homemade liquid on the road with her.

A police officer accompanying Ms Taylor said the lawyer had ‘blurred speech’, was ‘unstable’ on her feet and her eyes were ‘red and glazed’.

She admitted to driving her 4×4 on the dual carriageway A55 with a blood alcohol level of 135. The legal limit is 35.

Mrs Taylor – who takes home more than £ 66,000 a year – cried as she was led from the quay to the cells. She was sentenced to ten weeks in prison and a 31-month driving ban, which will be reduced if she completed a drink-driving course.

The court heard earlier how Taylor’s friend had been so ‘horrified’ when she found out that there was alcohol in the drink that she poured the ‘vital’ remaining liquid evidence into the sink.

Presiding Judge Graham Edwards described her account as ‘strange’.

Louise Taylor, 41, (pictured) was sentenced to ten weeks in prison and a 31-month driving ban, which would be reduced if she completed a drink-driving course

Louise Taylor, 41, (pictured) was sentenced to ten weeks in prison and a 31-month driving ban, which would be reduced if she completed a drink-driving course

Llandudno, North Wales, Judge Toby Prosser told Ms Taylor that she ‘lacked remorse’ or ‘recognition’ of responsibility for the offense.

He said: ‘It seems you are lacking in remorse or acknowledgment of any responsibility for the offense.

‘We are in a position where we must adhere to our guidelines and apply justice in the right way.’

At an earlier court hearing before the case was adjourned, Mrs Taylor said her friend had told her that the ‘disgusting’ herbal drink was good for intestinal health.

Mrs Taylor (above) was caught four times over the alcohol limit in her Range Rover after putting down at least 'two glasses' of her friend's homemade Kombucha tea

Mrs Taylor (above) was caught four times over the alcohol limit in her Range Rover after putting down at least ‘two glasses’ of her friend’s homemade Kombucha tea

She told the court: ‘I did not think it was alcoholic’, saying her friend Angela Morrison brewed it with yeast and mushrooms.

But the prosecutor had told the court: ‘The defendant’s reading is extremely high.

‘The reading is so high that you have the right to conclude that she must have known she had drunk alcohol. The write-down was significant. ‘

Justice Edwards said: “There is no evidence that there was a significant alcohol content in Kombucha.”

There is also said to be ‘inconsistency’ in Taylor’s evidence of how much wine she drank that day.

He added: ‘We do not believe that alcohol levels were affected by Kombucha. We do not find any special reasons for not disqualifying you. ‘

Mrs Taylor said her friend Angela brewed the drink using yeast and mushrooms and did not know that the drink was also alcoholic at the time.

‘I’m not a massive drinker at all,’ the Advocate General and the company secretary of a bank had insisted on evidence.

She admitted to driving her 4×4 with personal number plate on the dual carriageway A55 with an alcohol content of 135. The legal limit is 35.

Her former defense attorney had said it appeared the wrong type of yeast – a brewery variety – was being used to make the drink.

Kombucha is a refreshingly dizzying, slightly sour, fermented drink made from sweetened tea and is mostly non-alcoholic (file photo)

Kombucha is a refreshingly dizzying, slightly sour, fermented drink made from sweetened tea and is mostly non-alcoholic (file photo)

Prosecutor Diane Williams said on the evening of April 22 that police were behind the vehicle at Rhuallt as it was driving ‘across the road’. Taylor was stopped at St Asaph and her speech had been blurred.

A PC that followed the white Range Rover Sport for six miles using blue lights and the siren to try to stop it said it had drifted on the hard shoulder and nearly collided with a number of vehicles during overtaking.

How to make homemade Kombucha

Kombucha is a refreshingly dizzying, slightly sour, fermented drink made from sweetened tea and is mostly non-alcoholic.

Homemade kombucha typically has an alcohol content of no more than 1%, but the longer the kombucha ferments, the more alcoholic the drink becomes.

Ingredients:

2 organic green tea bags (or 2 teaspoons loose leaf)

2 organic black tea bags (or 2 teaspoons loose leaf)

100-200 g granulated sugar, to taste

1 medium ‘scoby’, which stands for a ‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast’, plus 100-200 ml starter fluid

(via BBC good food)

A bottle in the car was half full of a liquid that smelled of alcohol.

Mrs Taylor, who said she was ‘legal chief’, described how she had met a friend at Knutsford in the morning to take their dogs for a walk. Then she ate lunch in a hotel restaurant and shared a bottle of wine.

She had stopped to see her friend Angela on Connah’s Quay on her way to Abergele.

Mrs Taylor said she had been diagnosed with celiac disease affecting the gut.

She said her friend would not deliberately give her alcohol and that she had at least two glasses of the tea drink Kombucha – also drank from a water bottle containing it while driving.

She had also taken four antihistamines for hay fever that day and was starting to feel unwell.

Mrs Taylor said she took the drink ‘in good faith’ and maintained: ‘I did not drink intentionally and drove.’

A probation officer said there was still ‘some minimization’ of the offense from Mrs Taylor, who divorced her partner last year.

She currently lived on Abergele in a house inherited after the loss of her mother and intended to sell her Cheshire property. The officer said Taylor insisted she ‘rarely’ drinks.

Defense attorney Andrew Hutchinson said there were no previous convictions and Taylor took home more than £ 66,000 a year. The risk that she would insult again was extremely low and the trial had caused ‘great embarrassment’.

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