A CHASTISING magistrate told a drink driver she could have “killed herself or others” after she got behind the wheel while almost four times the legal limit.

Patricia Ridge, 38, narrowly avoided a prison sentence after making the decision to drive her Volkswagen Golf while under the influence of alcohol.

Adam Warn, prosecuting at Colchester Magistrates’ Court, outlined how Ridge was stopped in Tollgate Road, Colchester, after a police officer noticed she wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.

“Apart from the high reading this was an otherwise unremarkable case,” he said.

“He noted the driver was not wearing a seatbelt.

“He spoke to the driver and could smell intoxicating liquor on her breath.”

Ridge was stopped at around 11.15am on Tuesday, October 29.

A breath test later carried out at Colchester Police Station showed Ridge had 134mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

The legal limit is 35mg.

Ridge, who works a night shift at Sainsbury’s, admitted a charge of drink driving and told the court she would certainly lose her job over the conviction.

Her solicitor said: “Since being arrested she has now started work with Open Road for issues with alcohol.

“She is supported here by her recovery worker and is looking at custody having never been arrested before.”

Lucy Lavender, chairman of the bench, said: “This was an incredibly high alcohol reading in breath whilst you were driving a car in a busy period in a busy part of Colchester.

“I really cannot impress enough how serious it is.

“You could have caused a fatality.

“You could have killed yourself or others.

“Driving a car is like having a weapon in your hand.”

She added: “You are of previous good character and that has carried you a very long way today.”

Ridge, of Fordham Road, Wormingford, was banned from the roads for four years.

She must complete 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £195 in court costs.