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Drunk police doctor Christopher Partington ran from car following chase in North Devon

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: January 10, 2013

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A DRUNK police doctor was at the centre of a chase with officers before he ran off after twice crashing his car.

Dr Christopher Partington had been seen “stumbling and slumped to the ground” as he clambered into his silver VW Passat in Bampton at 6.30pm one night in October before being involved in a crash.

The JPs heard this was his second drink-driving offence in a year and this time he was nearly three times over the limit.

Police were called with the details of the car after the first crash and officers later saw the car and tried to stop the driver.

Karen Ball, for the prosecution, said the patrol ordered the driver to pull over because it was suspected he was drunk. The driver indicated that he was going into a coned off section of lay by of the A361 North Devon Link Road but pulled out again which led to the police pursuit.

The car then drove into an unclassified road as Partington, 48, headed for his home in Knowstone, “travelling at speed”.

Mrs Ball said:“He lost control on a left hand bend and hit a wall. He ran off and was detained shortly afterwards.”

He was breath tested at the scene and the reading was 134 micrograms of alcohol. The legal limit is 35. The court heard he broke down in tears and told officers:“I am a police doctor.”

Mrs Ball said when he was taken to a police station, he became “obstructive”, delaying the procedure with an Intoxiliser and asking questions to waste more time.

She said:“He was trying to delay in an attempt to produce a lower reading.”

In the end he eventually produced a urine sample that was 295 milligrams in 100 millilitres of urine – the limit is 107ml – and he was nearly three times over the legal top limit.

The damage to the wall at the listed building was £5,680.

He has a previous drink-driving conviction in April 2011 and had completed a drink-driving rehab course after that ban to shorten his disqualification.

Mrs Ball said there were a number of aggravating features including Partington being involved in an accident, failing to stop the vehicle and running off from the scene.

His lawyer said Partington, of West Crosside farm, Knowstone, was an alcoholic.

“He is a qualified doctor and it is a difficult situation for him because it’s a disease that he has been fighting for a number of years.”

He said Partington’s job included going to police stations to advise and assess people in the same situation as him with drink driving.

He said Partington was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after it was triggered by a series of serious incidents involving his former wife.

North and East Devon Magistrates’ Court heard that after his first drink-driving rap he was referred to the General Medical Council and he saw two psychiatrists. In April 2011 he made an attempt on his own life and he was immediately referred for treatment.

On the day of the chase he had seen his own GP and had a frank discussion about his relationship with his sons and left that surgery meeting “extremely depressed”. He then drank a “very large” amount of alcohol.

His lawyer said Partington’s conduct at the police station later was because he was highly intoxicated. “He is not working. He is awaiting the GMC decision but they want to know the result of this case. He has not taken alcohol since this incident.”

The defendant admitted drink-driving, failing to stop after a road accident and failing to stop when required by a constable.

Magistrates jailed Partington for eight weeks, suspended for 12 months, imposed a 12-month supervision order, banned him from driving for four years and ordered him to pay a total of £165 costs.

The JPs said: “You have a previous disqualification for excess alcohol, a high level of alcohol. You had two accidents and ran away, it doesn’t get much worse I don’t think.”

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