A corporate lawyer who claimed she was nearly four times the alcohol limit and swung “all the way” in her Range Rover after shutting down a friend’s homemade kombucha tea has been jailed.
Introducing a 10-week prison sentence on Llandudno Judge Toby Prosser told 41-year-old Louise Taylor that it was an “unusually high” reading.
“It seems you are lacking in remorse or acknowledgment of any responsibility for the offense,” he said. “We are in a position to adhere to our guidelines and apply justice in the right way.” She cried as she was led from the dock to the cells.
Read more:Go here to see all the latest news from Wales courts
A 31-month driving ban was also imposed, though it would be reduced if she completed a drink-driving course. At an earlier court hearing before the case was adjudicated, Taylor said her friend had told her the “disgusting” herbal drink was good for gut health. “I did not think it was alcoholic,” she said as she tried to evade a driving ban, arguing for “special reasons.”
Taylor said her friend Angela Morrison brewed it with yeast and mushrooms and did not know the drink was alcoholic at the time. “I’m not a massive drinker at all,” the attorney general and the company secretary of a bank had insisted as evidence.
She admitted to having driven her 4×4, carried on a personal number plate, on the dual carriageway A55 with a 135 mg alcohol in 100 ml breath. The legal limit is 35 mg. Her former defense attorney had said it appeared the wrong type of yeast – a brewery variety – was being used to make the drink.
Prosecutor Diane Williams said on the evening of April 22 that police were behind the vehicle at Rhuallt as it was driving “all the way.” Taylor was stopped at St Asaph and her speech had been blurred.
A police officer who was following the white Range Rover Sport for six miles using blue light and siren to try to stop it said it had drifted on the hard shoulder and nearly collided with a number of vehicles during overtaking.
A bottle in the car was half full of a liquid that smelled of alcohol.
A traffic colleague, PC Peter Doran, said: “Her eyes were red and glazed, her speech blurred. She was very unstable on her feet. ”
Taylor, who said she was the “legal head” of a bank, described how she had met a friend 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 said she had stopped to see her friend Morrison on Connah’s Quay on her way to Abergele and said she had at least two glasses of kombucha and 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.
Taylor said she took the drink “in good faith” and maintained, “I did not drink intentionally and drove.”
Check crime reports in your area:
A probation officer said there was still “some minimization” of the offense from 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 existing home in Holmes Chapel Road, Sandbach, Cheshire. 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”, he added.
Taylor will also have to pay £ 868 costs.
To get the latest news from WalesOnline sent directly to your email inbox click here .