A mother-of-four who crashed her Mercedes celebrated outside court after she was cleared of drink-driving by claiming she had ‘necked’ two pints of nearly-neat vodka to ‘calm herself down’ after the incident.
Kelsey Ridings, 26, crashed her C250 sports car which was carrying her four children into a black Peugeot 308 but left before police arrived after she exchanged details with the other driver, a court heard.
Officers traced the accountant to her home in Tameside, Greater Manchester an hour later where an initial breath test showed she had 124mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath – the legal limit being 35mg.
But Ridings was cleared of drink-driving after claiming she consumed the two pints in 15 minutes at the home of friend Paige Azad to ‘calm down’ before being given a lift home. A second test showed she had 82mg in breath.
Miss Azad, 24, said it was ‘a lot of vodka and a bit of coke’ and claimed she would never have let her friend drive as she was godmother to her children.
At Tameside Magistrates Court, JPs said Ridings’ account was ‘often confused and misleading’ whilst Miss Azad’s evidence was ‘totally incredible’.
However, they ruled that prosecutors had not proved the case against her, saying there was ‘insufficient evidence to prove she was over the limit at the time of the incident or at the time of consuming’.
Kelsey Ridings, 26, crashed her C250 sports car which was carrying her four children into a black Peugeot 308 but left before police arrived after she exchanged details with the other driver, a court heard
Kelsey Ridings (right) celebrating with friend Paige Azad after the verdict
The 5pm incident occurred on May 6 this year after Ridings’ crashed her car as she was returning home from a shop she was thinking of renting as a beauty salon.
The other driver, Carl Kidd, was taking his heavily pregnant partner to see his parents. He told the hearing: ‘She was well over on my side of the road and she was coming at speed. I steered away to avoid a head on collision but she caught the back end of my car.
‘I made sure my partner was okay then went over to confronted her the other driver. She then opened the door and there were three kids in the back and a young girl in the passenger seat, all children.
‘She got out and abruptly walked over to my car. I said: ‘look what you have done?’ and asked for her insurance details but she offered me £1,000 to not go through the insurance.
‘I said there wasn’t a chance of that because the chassis was bent over where she had hit me and we went over it back and forth. I asked her again for her insurance details and eventually she gave them, got into her car and sped off. I then rang the police and got nothing else from other than her name, insurance company and I had taken a picture of her registration.
‘She appeared to be intoxicated and was slurring her words and was unsteady on her feet. I think she was trying to overpower me. I did not smell any alcohol but she was slurring her words. I have been around drunk people in my life and she did not appear to be sober. She appeared drunk to me and my partner agreed she didn’t seem right.’
Pictured is Ridings’ damaged Mercedes after the crash on May 6 this year
Pictured is Carl Kidd’s damaged Peugeot after the crash
The other driver, Carl Kidd, was taking his heavily pregnant partner to see his parents
The court heard police arrived at Ridings’ home at 6.11pm where she was said to have an ‘elevating demeanour.’ After blowing almost four times the limit she took a second test which showed she had 82mg in breath.
Ridings told the hearing: ‘I was coming round a bend and was going down the hill but as I accelerated the car skidded and I have clipped the other car. I did say: ‘can we not go with insurance’ as I had £1,000 in savings which I could use. I said my premiums were really high as it is due to my vehicle being a sports car and because of my age.
‘But he said it would be more than that and something needed to happen that day. I felt uncomfortable. It was only minor damage – just a scrape. There was more damage to my car. I had not had any alcohol by that stage.
‘I drove off because other cars were beeping and he was aggressive and the kids were screaming. We were not getting anywhere. I went to Paige’s house and there I was trying to calm down and I asked her to get me a drink.
‘I was wanting to get picked up, I was shook up and had had a drink. I had two big drinks before I left her house and I got a lift home. He had been aggressive with me when he didn’t really have a right to.
‘There was no need to be aggressive to a girl with kids in the car. He was demanding money, his tone of voice was not good and he was pacing around shouting at me.
‘I got into the car and drove off to Paige’s. Everything was happening too fast and the kids were hysterical. At Paige’s I was panicking and asked her to get me a strong drink.
Ridings was cleared of drink-driving after claiming she consumed the two pints in 15 minutes at the home of friend Paige Azad to ‘calm down’ before being given a lift home
‘I just needed to calm my nerves and I stood outside her house having a glass a of vodka which was more or less neat and I then necked it then had another one whilst I was getting the kids out of my car and into my friends van.’
Breaking down in tears she added: ‘I just feel like a bad mum drinking. I was there 15-20 minutes and it was long enough to have two drinks. I just panicked. They were incredibly strong drinks. I had not had a drink before it.’
Prosecutor Nick Smart told the hearing: ‘Mr Kidd gave a breathtakingly honest account about the incident. He was always going to be angry and upset. This lady was said to be distraught whilst her animated friend gave her a drink. It does not pan out.
‘The situation was fraught with emotion, one party had children in the car the other party had a heavily pregnant woman. It is very easy to say I would not drive because it would put my children’s safety at risk but a lot of people do drink and drive. It is quite common regrettably.
‘People who have had a drink make ill-founded decisions and that is what has happened in this case.’
But defence lawyer Dave Holland said: ‘The two of them had a conversation lasting 5-10 minutes and whilst Mr Kidd had some suspicions she was drunk, he could not be sure and he could not smell alcohol.
‘He accepted he became aggressive and she felt threatened. She has never been in trouble before.’
In clearing Ridings, the chairman of the bench who would only give her name as Mrs Furness said: ‘Mr Kidd was clear and credible. Miss Ridings was often confused, emotional at times and misleading. The other lady, Paige was totally incredible.
‘However, the prosecution have not proved beyond reasonable doubt this case.
‘There is insufficient evidence to prove you were over the limit at the time of the incident or at the time of consuming. We therefore find you not guilty.’
As Ridings and Miss Azad celebrated outside, prosecutors questioned the verdict but Mrs Furness insisted: ‘We believe the Crown’s case has not been proved beyond all reasonable doubt. We are not prepared to go into it anymore.’