A motorist who crashed his car while over the legal drink-drive limit then gave a false account to his insurance company that it had been stolen, a court has heard.
Paul Seamus Milliken (28), of Mullaghsandall Road, Larne, was told by a judge he was “fortunate” to still be at liberty after admitting a charge of fraud by false representation, along with various motoring offences, when he appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court.
Milliken was given a suspended two-month prison sentence for the fraud offence while he was banned from driving for 12 months and fined a total of £650 after admitting dangerous driving; failing to stop at the scene of an accident; failing to report an accident; and driving with excess alcohol consumed.
The court was told that the charges arose from an incident on April 8, when police were informed of a one-vehicle road traffic accident at Dickeystown Road, Glenarm.
A vehicle, with no occupants present, was found on its roof in the middle of the road, while considerable damage had been caused to a garden wall and fence, along with a nearby telegraph pole.
Police attended Milliken’s address at 5am and found him asleep on the sofa. At 7am - around six hours after the incident had first been reported to police - he provided a breath specimen with a concentration of 40 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit if 35/100.
The court was also told that on April 23, Milliken told his insurance company that the car had been stolen.
Barrister Aaron Thompson said of the fraudulent insurance claim: “He accepts he was completely dishonest about it.”
District Judge Des Perry said of the incident: “It starts out serious and gets worse. The driving itself was bad but for him to do this with the insurance company is very bad.”
He told Milliken: “In the face of what you knew to be the truth, the insurance company asked for a report and you came up with a complete fabrication that your car was stolen.”
The judge said that only Milliken’s previous clear record prevented him from imposing an immediate custodial sentence, adding: “You can consider yourself very fortunate that you were well-represented and that you are still at liberty.”
The judge also ordered Milliken to pay restitution of £1,500 for the damage caused to the wall, fencing and telegraph pole.