Friday, 26 May 2017

City Property Executive's Birthday Booze Crash

Champers & Wine: Gemma Hewes
A City property executive wrote-off a parked car while driving children in her powerful 4x4 at twice the drinks limit after her husband’s birthday party.

Gemma Hewes, 40, a director with BNP Paribas Real Estate, begged locals not to call police after colliding with a total of five cars following the wine and champagne celebration. 

She told witnesses she was distracted by her phone moments before the collision, which left a Renault Espace written-off and the other vehicles with visible damage.

However, residents of the quiet residential street dialled 999 and a tearful Hewes was arrested at the £1.15m home she shares with husband Ross, 40, in Elborough Street, Southfields.

Yesterday she pleaded guilty to driving her black 3.0 litre Land Rover Discovery with excess alcohol on her breath and driving without due care and attention in Kenilworth Avenue, Wimbledon on May 7.

Wimbledon Magistrates Court heard Hewes, who attended £35,000-a year Woldingham School, Surrey had 74 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35.

The steering column of the mother-of-two’s Land Rover snapped on impact and the wrecked vehicle had to be towed from the scene. 

She was fined a total of £1350, with £85 costs, ordered to pay a £90 victim surcharge and was disqualified from driving for seventeen months.

Neighbours say there were two or three children in Hewes’ Land Rover, but it is not known if they were the couple’s.

Prosecutor Mr. Paul Poulter told the court it was 8.15pm when company director Stephen Holsgrove, 57, heard a loud bang outside his home.

“He says his vehicle and four other cars were damaged and he saw a woman wearing jeans trying to get two children out of the Land Rover.
“She said: ‘Please don’t call the police. I’ve had a few glasses of wine.’

Crash: Kenilworth Avenue
“Police officers traced her to her home, where she was crying and upset.

“She told the officers: ‘I was driving and using my hands free and hit a car.’

“She had been in Wimbledon, where she said she had a glass of champagne and two glasses of wine.”

Hewes’ lawyer Mr. Tom Dunn said: “This is a very dark day for Gemma Hewes and her family.

The court heard Hewes had been out with her husband and family and friends to celebrate the fortieth birthday of Ross, a director with Capita Real Estate.

“She is not a drinker, she rarely drinks, but on this occasion consumed some alcohol and did not realise she was impaired by alcohol at the time she drove.”

Hewes says she has not been able to eat solid food after recent surgery and remains on medication.  

“She received a telephone call via bluetooth and answered and spoke for several minutes,” explained Mr. Dunn. 

“She recalls a parked car protruding and obviously overcompensated and the steering column then broke and she was unable to avoid contact with other cars.

“Damage is being met by the family out of their own pockets and they both work extremely hard.”

Magistrate Isabel Vass told Hewes: “By good luck no one was stepping out and you were distracted and that is related to your alcohol consumption.

“Anything more than one small glass of wine will put you over the limit.”

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