Driver escapes jail after blaming the Holocaust for drunken crash
A MOTORIST escaped jail after blaming his mother’s Holocaust tales for driving him to drink more than twice the legal limit prior to a head-on road collision.
By OLI SMITH
25 June, 2015
Stephen Groves, 66, was arrested after crashing his Alfa Romeo GTV into a Mercedes close to his home in Epping, Essex, on 22 May.
He claimed hearing his mother telling chilling stories of life under the Nazis at the Auschwitz concentration camp in the Second World War left him traumatised.
He explained that drinking the three pints of nine per cent proof ale before driving home was his only way of coping with the disturbing tales.
Mr Groves told Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court his 93-year-old mother’s dementia had led to her stories being more harrowing than ever.
He said that his mother, who used to avoid the memories, now recalled the infamous death camp with a shocking level of detail.
A breath test revealed 79 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – more than twice the legal limit of 35 microgrammes.
“As children, me and my sister were never told very much at all about what happened but with her dementia she’s become more graphic.”
The magistrates took pity on the driver who had faced up to six months behind bars.
Mr Groves was disqualified from driving for 20 months and ordered to pay over £550 in fines and court costs.
Groves also said that dealing with his mother’s worsening health and a recent break-up had triggered a spiral of depression.
He added: “On the day all those things led up to me sitting on my own at the pub and I had one [or three!] too many.”
This case and its special pleading may be of some interest to Greville Janner’s lawyers.