A care home worker who crashed her car while drink-driving was struggling with depression due to the Covid-19 deaths of elderly patients, a court has heard.
Mum-of-two Gwen Clark appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court and admitted getting behind the wheel of her red Mazda and crashing into two cars while over the limit.
Clark had to be taken to the hospital as a result of the crash and it was there that blood tests revealed she was more than double the drink-drive limit.
The 49-year-old’s defence solicitor said that at the time she was struggling to cope with a spike in coronavirus-related deaths at the care home where she works as a nurse.
Fiscal depute David Ballock told the court that at around 2am on February 28 last year Clark’s vehicle was involved in a collision with a parked white Nissan and a grey Volkswagen on Newtonhill’s Cairnhill Road.
He said: “The accused was conveyed to the hospital and roadside procedures were unable to be carried out.
“Police followed the accused to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where a blood sample was analysed and the reading was found that reads from the charge.”
When her blood was tested, the nurse gave a result of 125 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 50mg.
Nurse took patient deaths ‘extremely badly’
Defence agent Gregor Kelly told the court that Clark’s offence took place “deep in the dark days of the pandemic”.
He said: “On that particular week there was a spike and a number of the patients sadly passed away.
“She was extremely upset and took it extremely badly.
“Ms Clark had taken a drink on the night in question and she took the rash decision to take the car and had a minor road traffic accident near her house.
“I would ask the court to accept that this is an aberration, rather than a continuing course of conduct.”
Sheriff David Hall told Clark that he had read a letter of reference from her employer and that it had been “positive”.
He added: “I’m going to give you credit for pleading guilty at the first opportunity.
“I also understand you are in a better place now than you were a year ago, which is good.”
Sheriff Hall handed Clark, of Michael Tunstall Place, Newtonhill, a £420 fine and banned her from driving for 12 months.
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