A CONVICTED drink driver who caused £100,000 worth of damage after crashing into a family home just 24 hours after his motoring ban expired has avoided prison.

Msulama 'Sal' Chitulu 'careered' into the semi detached house in an 'almighty smash' that destroyed a new kitchen, buckled the garage door and smashed the front step.

Dramatic CCTV footage shows the grey Vauxhall Zafira shoot straight into the garage door and brick wall with the force of the impact so strong that kitchen cupboards were thrown open sending plates, glasses and jars crashing onto the floor.

The family had to have work done to make their house structurally sound again and had Christmas dinner cooked on a camping stove because their brand new kitchen was destroyed.

Chitulu crashed his car into a home in Victoria Road, Woolston

Chitulu crashed his car into a home in Victoria Road, Woolston

A court heard that Chitulu was previously banned for drink driving in February 2019, and his ban only ended one day and 45 minutes before he 'ploughed' into the front of a house last year in Southampton, Hants.

He was found guilty of dangerous driving following a trial but narrowly avoided prison after he was handed a suspended sentence by the judge.

Appearing at Southampton Crown court, Malawian national Chitulu was sentenced for four offences including dangerous driving.

He had already admitted charges of failing to provide a specimen of breath, driving without insurance and possession of cocaine, after a small wrap of drugs was found in his wallet after the crash.

During the trial, the court heard that the 40 year old and his girlfriend Joanna Ross had gone for a meal at Kuti's, an Indian restaurant in the city, where Chitulu was due to DJ later that evening on Saturday, February 29 last year.

Chitulu, left, crashed his car into the house in Victoria Road, Woolston

Chitulu, left, crashed his car into the house in Victoria Road, Woolston

Chitulu, who moved to the UK from Malawi in 1997 and has never had a full UK driving licence, told the court that driving home his foot 'slipped' as he reached Victoria Road abd he crashed into a house just three doors down from where his girlfriend lived.

Speaking after the sentencing hearing, homeowner Rachael Holmes, 53, has suffered from severe depression as a result.

She said: "It's a nightmare to be honest. I'm glad it's over. The kitchen was only nine months old.

"We thought at the time that the damage was about £4,500 because it didn't look that severe from the outset but after having a structural engineer round it came to £100,000.

"The kitchen was half wiped out, the front steps went through the front of the house. The car behind the garage door got done as well.

"We are frightened of a car coming around the bend and smashing into our house again or one of the neighbours.

"We had to wait for the builders to come out because of lockdown and in December we still had to have Christmas with a camping stove. Christmas was ruined."

Chitulu crashed his car into a home in Victoria Road, Woolston

Chitulu crashed his car into a home in Victoria Road, Woolston

Her husband Roger, 70, explained the extent of the damage done: "When he hit the house he hit it in such a way that it had to be made structurally sound. I could actually see the front tyre through the wall.

"All the cupboards smashed open and everything crashed down on to the granite worktops.

"The front room floor tilted and it dropped by about three inches so everything in the room was on a slant.

"We had structural engineers round and it is better now but to get it done perfect they would have to take down part of a wall and that would condemn the house.

"As a result of all the work done our household insurance has trebled for five years."

Prosecutor Edward Hollingsworth told the sentencing hearing 'fortunately nobody, either the occupants of the vehicle or the residents, was injured but considerable damage was caused to the house and the car has been written off.'

He then summarised a statement written by Mrs Holmes.

Mr Hollingsworth said: "Rachael Holmes says that she can no longer sleep at night for fear of something like this happening again.

"She says as a family we no longer park our cars in the driveway or garage.

"She says she's constantly checking the house's CCTV on her phone whether they are in the country or on holiday abroad.

"She says they had Christmas with a two ring camping cooker and it effectively ruined Christmas.

"She says the £10,000 kitchen was only two months old and feels all their hard work and new kitchen went down the drain."

She added that the family's household insurance had 'trebled' since the accident.

Khalid Missouri, representing Chitulu, said: "He was completely unaware of the effects of his actions and he is extremely remorseful. He is devastated to hear the effect it has had on them.

Mr Missouri said father of two Chitulu moved to the UK from Malawi when he was 16 years old after both his parents died from AIDS.

He added: "He has suffered from depression for 10 years. There is substance misuse in his past but probation have said that this is likely a coping mechanism for the trauma he has suffered."

But when Mr Missouri described Chitulu as a 'good member of the community' he was interrupted by Judge Christopher Parker QC, who disagreed.

He said: "I don't know how you can say that. He's got a background of helping young people in the community at the same time as he is using cocaine.

"You crashed into a house belonging to Mr and Mrs Holmes. Nobody was injured, lucky for them and lucky for you, but the house was extensively damaged and the cost to them in terms of physical impact, financial impact and the effect on their wellbeing has been significant.

"All of your actions and the consequences can be attributed to you making stupid decisions to use drugs, to drink before driving and to drive when you weren't qualified."

Chitulu was handed a 15 month prison sentence suspended for two years.

He was disqualified from driving for three years, ordered to pay £2,500 in compensation and carry out 280 hours of unpaid work.