An accountant has been cleared of drink-driving after claiming she ‘necked’ two pints of vodka to ‘calm herself’ after crashing her Mercedes.
Kelsey Ridings, 26, had her four young children in the back of the car when she crashed head-on into another vehicle.
After offering the other driver £ 1,000 while she was ‘unstable on her feet’, she hurried away from the scene before police arrived.
Officers tracked her to her home in Mottram, Tameside, an hour later, where a breath test showed she was nearly four times over the legal alcohol limit.
READ MORE:Man in hospital after Metrolink station stabbing and three young people have been arrested
But at Tameside Magistrates Court, Riding was cleared of drink-driving after claiming she had eaten the two pints in just 15 minutes at the home of her best friend Paige Azad immediately after the crash.
After the hearing, a jubilant Mrs Ridings celebrated outside the court.
Mrs Azad, 24, who poured her drinks, said it was “a lot of vodka and a little coke” and claimed she would never have let her friend run as she was the godmother of her children.
JPs described Riding’s account as ‘often confused and misleading’ and Miss Azad’s evidence as ‘absolutely unbelievable’, but ruled that prosecutors had not proved her case against her.
The incident took place at. 5pm on May 6, after Riding’s C250 car hit a black Peugeot 308 when she returned home from a store she was thinking of renting as a beauty salon.
The other driver, Carl Kidd, took his heavily pregnant partner to see his parents at the time.
He told the hearing: ” She was well over on my side of the road and she came with speed. I steered away to avoid the head in the event of a collision, but she caught the rear end of my car.
” I made sure my partner was okay, and then went to confront the other driver. She then opened the door and there were three children in the back and a young girl in the passenger seat, all children.
” She came out and suddenly went to my car.
“I said, ‘look what you’ve done?’ and asked for her insurance information but she offered me £ 1,000 not to go through the insurance.
” I said there was no chance of that because the chassis was bent over where she had hit me and we went over it back and forth.
“I asked her again for her insurance information, and eventually she gave it, put me in her car, and drove off.
“I then called the police and got nothing but her name, insurance company and I had taken a picture of her registration.
“She appeared to be intoxicated and blurred her words and was unstable on her feet. I think she was trying to overcome me.
“I did not smell alcohol, but she was sloppy in her words. I have been around drunk people in my life and she did not seem to be sober. She seemed drunk to me and my partner agreed that she did not work properly. ”
The court heard that the police arrived at Riding’s home at 18.11, where she is said to have a “raising behavior”.
After blowing almost four times the limit, she took another test that showed she had 82 mg in the air.
Horseback riding told the hearing: ” I came around in a turn and went downhill, but when I accelerated the car, the car skidded and I cut off the other car. I said ‘we can not go with insurance’ as I had £ 1000 in savings that I could use.
“I said my premiums were really high as it’s because my vehicle was a sports car and because of my age.
“But he said it would be more than that and something had to happen that day. I felt uncomfortable. It was only minor damage – just a scratch. There was more damage to my car. I had not had alcohol on. that time.
“I drove away because other cars beeped and he was aggressive and the kids screamed. We got nowhere. I went to Paige’s house and there I tried to calm down and I asked her to get me a drink.
” I wanted to be picked up, I was shaken and had a drink. I had two great drinks before I left her house and I got a lift home. He had been aggressive towards me since he was not really entitled to it.
” It was not necessary to be aggressive towards a girl with children in the car. He demanded money, his tone was not good, and he ran around shouting at me.
” I got in the car and drove to Paiges. Everything was going too fast and the kids were hysterical.
“At Paige’s I was in a panic and asked her for a strong drink. I just needed to calm my nerves and I stood outside her house and had a glass of vodka which was more or less nice and I then necked it, and had another while I got the kids out of my car and into my friends’ van. ”.
She broke down in tears and added: “I just want a bad mother who drinks. I was there 15-20 minutes and it was long enough to have two drinks. I just panicked. They were incredibly strong drinks. I had not drunk before. ”
Mrs. Azad, a nursing assistant, told JPs: ” When I saw her she was desperate and cried her eyes out – but was in no way affected by alcohol.
“She said, ‘can you get me a drink,’ and I saw a liter of vodka. It’s all my fault, as I might as well have given her the whole liter of vodka. I will not lie. She just nodded.
” I just wanted to calm her nerves and calm her down while she arranged a lift on her phone. I saw the vodka used a tall pint glass and put a lot of vodka in. I used coke to mix it, but I will say I poured her a triple vodka and a bit of coke and she just contented it.
” I gave her another drink and she also nodded. I would never let her drink drive home. I’m a godmother to her family. She would not have drunk driving. Why would she put her seven-month-old baby in danger and her other boys? ”
Prosecutor Nick Smart told the court: “Mr. Kidd gave a breathtaking honest account of the incident. He would always be angry and upset. This lady is said to be in despair while her animated friend gave her a drink. It does not spring out.
“The situation was full of emotions, one party had children in the car the other party had a highly pregnant woman.
“It’s very easy to say I would not drive because it would endanger the safety of my children, but many people drink and drive. Unfortunately, that is quite common.
“People who have been drinking are making ill-informed decisions, and that is what has happened in this case.”
Manchester courts are some of the busiest in the country with a wide range of cases dealt with each week.
To stay up to date on how justice is being done in Greater Manchester, subscribe to our free weekly MEN Court News newsletter compiled by our court reporters Andrew Bardsley and Amy Walker.
How do I sign up?
- First, click on this link to our newsletter signup center.
- Once there, put your email address where it says at the top, and then check the MENU News box. There are other newsletters available if you want them too.
- Once you have made your selection, press the Save Changes button at the bottom.
But defense attorney Dave Holland said: ” The two had a conversation that lasted 5-10 minutes, and although Mr Kidd had some suspicions that she was drunk, he could not be sure and he could not smell alcohol. He accepted that he was becoming aggressive and she felt threatened. She has never been in trouble before. ”
Upon clearing Ridings, the chairman of the bench said: ” Mr. Kidd was clear and believable. Mrs. Ridings was at times confused, emotionally charged, and misleading. The other lady, Paige was absolutely incredible.
” However, the prosecution has not proved this case without reasonable doubt. There is insufficient evidence to prove that you were over the limit at the time of the incident or at the time of ingestion. We therefore do not find you guilty. ”
When Ridings and Mrs Azad celebrated outside, prosecutors questioned the verdict, but Mrs Furness insisted: “We believe the Crown’s case has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. We are not prepared to go into it anymore.”