A WOMAN collected young children from school and drove them to a playground while she was almost three times the legal drink drive limit, a court heard.
Helen Storr had four youngsters in her car and then parked up and let them go and play while she opened a bottle of wine and poured it into a beaker.
Southampton Crown Court heard how a worried member of the public called police having watched her “swigging from what looked like a vodka bottle” as she sat in the driver’s seat.
When she got out of the car, which was parked in Lawn Road, she was clearly “unsteady on her feet” prosecutor Simon Jones said.
Police arrived at the scene 20 minutes later and as they approached Storr’s car found that she had poured wine into a beaker.
The 45-year-old, from Charlecote Drive in Chandler’s Ford, was breathalysed and taken to a police station, where the children were taken to a safe place.
She was found to have 96mg of alcohol in her blood – almost three times the legal limit of 35mg.
The court was told how Storr had turned to drink to help her cope with stressful issues including her mother’s deteriorating health and her own medical issues.
Defending, Keely Harvey, said Storr was a well educated lady who had become ‘isolated’ and had turned to alcohol as a “substitute for anyone to talk to” about what was bothering her.
She described how when police arrived “there was a dawning realisation” of what she was doing .
She said: “There is true remorse and a true feeling of shame.”
The court was told how Storr has not touched alcohol since and immediately sought help from specialist centre The Bridge, where she now helps facilitate courses every week.
Handing her a community order, Judge Susan Evans QC, said: “You were driving a motor vehicle while four young children were in it. You were nearly three times over the limit. It is unforgivable in many ways – thankfully nobody was harmed.
“No doubt the realisation of what you did that day has been a shock to you and you are remorseful and ashamed.”
Storr, who admitted being drunk in charge of a minor and drink driving, was also disqualified from driving for two years which will be reduced if she completes a drink impaired driver’s course.