Wigan mother-of-one, 34, jailed for drink driving

Mother-of-one hairdresser, 34, who swapped seats with friend in bid to swerve drink-driving ban after crashing her Mini while almost five times the alcohol limit is jailed for eight weeks

  • Emma Gunning, 34, was five times the drink driving limit when she crashed 
  • The hairdresser from Wigan measured 162mcg of alcohol of 100ml of breath 
  • Wigan Magistrates’ Court heard Gunning had a previous conviction from 2016
  • She was jailed for eight weeks and was also banned from driving for five years 

A mother of one who swapped seats with a friend in a bid to dodge a drink driving ban after she crashed her Mini while almost five times the alcohol limit has been jailed for eight weeks. 

Hairdresser Emma Gunning, 34, attempted to falsely claim she was the passenger of her silver Mini One after she ploughed into another vehicle whilst she out looking for her missing pet dog.

Police arrived at the scene of the crash to find a male companion in the driver’s seat of Gunning’s car trying to start it.

Emma Gunning, pictured, was five times the drink drive limit when she crashed into a parked car while out looking for her missing dog on December 9, 2020 in Wigan

The mother-of-one, pictured, was jailed for eight weeks by magistrates after she admitted drink driving. The court heard this was her second conviction for drink driving

But a suspicious patrolman refused to believe her story and found CCTV which showed she was driving the Mini at the time of the crash.

Tests showed Gunning, from Ashton-in-Makerfield, Wigan, Greater Manchester had 162 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35mg.

Inquiries revealed she had a previous drink driving conviction from 2016.

At Wigan Magistrates’ court, Gunning broke down and sobbed as she was jailed for eight weeks after admitted driving with excess alcohol and obstructing police.

The court heard the incident occurred on December 9 last year after Gunning drank vodka with her friend at home whilst her young daughter was having a sleepover.

Prosecutor Miss Nicola Morgan said: ‘She went out in her silver Mini One and had a collision with a green Fiat 500, which rolled into a Volkswagen Golf.

The court heard that Gunning’s car would not start as a result of the damage it suffered and CCTV footage showed Gunning swapping seats with her friend before the arrival of police. 

Following her arrest, Gunning, on legal advice, answered ‘no comment’ in an interview. 

Gunning had previously been caught driving at more than twice the limit after being stopped on pub car park.

The court heard that Gunning is the primary carer for her daughter ‘for some considerable time’

In mitigation defence lawyer Mr Martin Jones said: ‘She was at home and her daughter was at a sleepover and unusually she decided to drink a considerable amount of alcohol.

‘It was soon after that she became concerned that her dog had gone missing, so she got into her car, driving for a short distance whilst looking for her dog.

‘The defendant then crashed her vehicle. She is remorseful and accepts that it was totally and utterly wrong and she doesn’t attempt to try and justify what she did.

‘She entered her guilty pleas immediately without any hesitation and co-operated fully. She has been not driven or drank since and that’s how she wants to carry on in the future.

‘Before COVID, she had been a mobile hairdresser and she acknowledges any plans of this have now been thwarted and that she will have to seek some sort of alternative employment.

‘She has been having hallucinations, but she is now on new medication and that is working much better for her.

‘The relationship has improved with the child’s father. She is the primary carer for her daughter, so the child would suffer significantly with the change of circumstances as she has been the primary carer now for some considerable time.

‘She realises the position she has put herself in. She asks the court for leniency by way of a suspended sentence rather than imposing a custodial prison sentence today.’

Gunning, pictured, had tried to deceive police by swapping seats with her friend following the smash

But JPs told Gunning: ‘You consumed a quite considerable amount of alcohol and then decided to drive your vehicle, causing a danger to other road users, which could have led to a possible death.

‘There was a road traffic collision which saw your car collide with another. When the police arrived, you refused arrest and initially lied to avoid the consequences of your actions saying you were not the driver.

‘We are unable to consider a suspended sentence and it is therefore clear a sentence of imprisonment is justifiable in these circumstances. The amount of alcohol you consumed is within the very highest of our sentencing guidelines.’

Gunning was also banned from driving for five years, was ordered to take an extended driving re-tests and must pay £128 in costs and surcharges.

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