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Peterborough man in King’s Lynn court after drink-driving through Wisbech

A man has avoided jail despite being “almost off the scale” when drink-driving through a town.

Denys Zahoruiko, 28, pleaded guilty to the offence when he appeared at King’s Lynn Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

He committed it on September 13, when he was caught by police on St Augustines Road in Wisbech.

Denys Zahoruiko was ‘almost off the scale’ while he was drink-driving. Picture: iStock
Denys Zahoruiko was ‘almost off the scale’ while he was drink-driving. Picture: iStock

Crown prosecutor Sally Harris said Zahoruiko was pulled over due to both the manner of his diving and the fact he had been spotted emptying his Volkswagen Jetta of beer cans.

He smelled strongly of alcohol, and admitted he had been drinking prior to being stopped. He provided a positive breath test result at the roadside, and was arrested.

Later evidential samples revealed he had 147mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath in his system. The legal limit to drive is 35mcg.

Mitigating, George Sorrell said that Zahoruiko, of Keats Way in Peterborough, came to England in 2020 from Ukraine. He has lived here since, and works in a car wash.

Prior to his offence, one of Zahoruiko’s friends died in the war-torn country. Following that, he was unable to contact his sister for three days – leading him to become “very worried about her”. However, it turned out she was safe.

These two factors contributed to a state of mind which led to him drink-driving, Mr Sorrell said.

“The defendant is aware that this is a very high reading. It is almost off the scale,” he added.

"There is clear scientific evidence that a reading this high would suffer from alcohol intoxication. The defendant realises that his driving would have been severely impacted by the fact that he had so much alcohol in his system.

“Because of that, he is deeply ashamed of himself. A man of good character whose country is at war, benefitting the hospitality he receives here – he feels ashamed.

“But on that particular day, he felt so upset that he drank this amount. He wanted to go and see his girlfriend in Wisbech.

“He tells me he does not have an alcohol problem as such – he is not an alcoholic. He is shocked by this court appearance, and hopefully it will bring him to his senses.”

Magistrates, led by Paul Redhead, did not take to Zahoruiko’s offence lightly.

“The bench feels that this is a very serious matter, and that the custody threshold has been passed,” Mr Redhead said.

“However, we have taken into account that you have no previous convictions – and also your guilty plea.”

Zahoruiko was handed eight weeks in custody, but had them suspended for a period of 12 months.

He was also disqualified from driving for three years, although he was offered a rehabilitation course which will reduce that period by 36 weeks if he completes it by December 2025.

He will pay £105 in legal costs and a £187 victim surcharge.

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