An officer from Northumbria police has been sacked from his job after being convicted of drink driving at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court.
Once celebrated for saving someone from a burning building, it was concluded at PC Christopher Walton’s disciplinary hearing that it was “extremely fortunate” that no-one was hurt by his actions.
The 47-year-old did not attend the hearing, but his Police Federation representative Michael Kelliher confirmed his acceptance of the charges.
Hayley Hebb, solicitor for Northumbria police, described how Walton was observed driving under the influence of alcohol by an off-duty colleague From Hexham while driving between Catton and Allendale on the afternoon of May 24.
His colleague used her horn to attract Walton’s attention after she saw him driving on the wrong side of the road. He corrected his path, but on turning off onto another road he veered into the wrong lane once more before colliding with railings outside a primary school.
Following the collision she got out of her car to go and help the driver, who she then recognised to be Walton, describing that his speech was slurred and could barely walk. The arresting officers reported that he smelled of alcohol and was clearly intoxicated.
They asked him if he was drunk, to which Walton, who used to work with Special Branch, replied: “I know, I know, you don’t know what I’ve been through.”
Early readings showed his blood-alcohol level to be 170mg, however, this was later revised to 89mg, which is more than twice the legal limit.
Following his court hearing in June, Walton was banned from driving for 22 months fined £399 and ordered to pay £85 costs. At his misconduct hearing, he was dismissed from the force without notice.
Rachel Margenie, chair of the disciplinary panel, said “It’s our view that this matter is so serious that dismissal without notice is the only option available to us and is an appropriate outcome.
“Mr Walton was two times over the limit in the middle of the afternoon in a residential area.
“It would have been highly likely there were parents travelling to that school, possibly with very young children – indeed, a witness statement mentions a lady with a baby being present.
“He drove a considerable distance between Catton and Allendale through residential areas.
“It’s extremely fortunate that Mr Walton or a member of the public were not hurt during this period of driving.
“This inevitably discredits the force and undermines confidence in the service’s ability to keep the roads safe.”
She then added: “In his submission, Mr Walton referred to personal problems which led to an increase in his alcohol consumption.
“He says he is receiving support to ‘get his life back on track’.”
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