education

Drunk teacher was in class while nearly four times drink drive limit


The teacher’s colleagues at Kingsdown School in Swindon phoned the police after believing she was drunk (Picture: Google)

A teacher drove to school while nearly four times the drink-drive limit and then taught a class drunk, a court has heard.

Julia Roberts, 49, said she had turned to alcohol to cope with the stress of working at Kingsdown School in Swindon, Wiltshire.

The design and technology teacher’s colleagues phoned the police on February 10 last year as they suspected her of being drunk in class.

Police later found a nearly-empty bottle of vodka at the school, Swindon Magistrates’ Court heard.

Roberts, of Faringdon, Oxfordshire, pleaded guilty in November to driving a motor vehicle while over the alcohol limit.

She lost her job at the school and was sentenced to an 18-month community order, with 100 hours of unpaid work. Roberts was also banned from driving for two years.

A breathalyser test taken at the school showed Roberts had more than 130mgs of alcohol in 100ml of breath, nearly four times the legal limit of 35.

While blood samples showed a reading of 253, three times the legal limit of 80.

Julia Roberts, 49, was sentenced to an 18-month community order at Swindon Magistrates’ Court (Picture: Google Maps)

Prosecutor Keith Ballinger said Roberts had fully admitted drink-driving when she was interviewed by the police.

She had drunk a bottle of white wine the night before, finishing off around five or six large glasses.

Defending, Luke Jameson said his client had drunk vodka after arriving at the school the next morning, which accounted for the large amount of alcohol in her system when she was tested.

She had been placed under ‘a lot of undue stress’ and responsibility that had resulted in her starting to abuse alcohol, the solicitor added.

Mr Jameson said: ‘It doesn’t provide her with any defence, but gives you some explanation of how she was feeling and the mental pressure she was suffering.’

Since the offending she has approached addiction service Turning Point for help, and is remorseful and embarrassed by her actions, he added.

‘She is a lady with 30 years of teaching experience. It is quite sad she has been put in this position through stress,’ Mr Jameson said.

District Judge Joanna Dickens told Roberts: ‘You are really fortunate, you’re really lucky that no one died or suffered serious injury as a result of your driving. It is a really high reading.’

Kingsdown School headteacher Emma Leigh-Bennett said: ‘The school takes the responsibility of both safeguarding students and the welfare of staff incredibly seriously.

‘We took immediate and discrete control of the situation to ensure all concerned were safe, swift due process then followed. I can confirm that Mrs Roberts no longer works for the school.’

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