Jail for drink driver who smashed into Leeds widow’s home

Daniel Mitchell's car ploughed into the house of 82-year-old Philomena O'Brien in Leeds
Daniel Mitchell's car ploughed into the house of 82-year-old Philomena O'Brien in Leeds
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A grandmother miraculously escaped unhurt when a drink driver smashed his father’s car into her Leeds home ending up in her kitchen, a court heard.

Widow Philomena O’Brien, 82, had got out of bed for some water only 40 minutes before Daniel Mitchell ploughed into the gable end of her house in Beeston, Leeds in the early morning of July 11 this year.

Daniel Mitchell's car ploughed into the house of 82-year-old Philomena O'Brien in Leeds

Daniel Mitchell's car ploughed into the house of 82-year-old Philomena O'Brien in Leeds

Leeds Crown Court heard today (Friday) Mitchell, who was only a provisional licence holder had been drinking before he decided to take his father’s silver Ford without permission to get some cigarettes.

Imran Khan prosecuting said on the return journey he drove from Folly Lane into Bismarck Street too fast and struck the kerb losing control and ploughing into Mrs O’Brien’s home sending bricks and mortar flying inside.

She said she had only got settled back into bed when she heard the bang. “As I was walking down the stairs dust was coming up towards me. I was shaking. When I saw the car through the wall I couldn’t believe it.

The grandmother of nine said had she still been in the kitchen at the time “I would have been killed.”

The damage at the time was estimated at £60,000 and she had to move out to live with family until repairs were done.

Mr Khan told the court Mitchell climbed out of a rear window of the car. A witness took a picture of him emerging and when his blood was tested it showed an alcohol reading of 119 millligrammes in 100 millilitres the limit being 80.

Tim Capstick representing Mitchell said he did not know what had caused him to behave in such a way in the early hours of the morning.

He had been drinking earlier in the evening before he went home. “His best explanation is he wanted some cigarettes and thought in drink he would take his father’s car to go to the local petrol station.”

He said the car was written off in the collision and Mitchell’s father had not been happy about that. Since then when he was in work he had managed to give him £700-£800 towards buying another one but had since lost his job. The house damage was being covered by the householder’s insurance.

“Thankfully no one was actually injured.”

Mitchell, 24, then living in Bismarck Drive, Leeds but recently staying at Newlands Drive, Morley, admitted aggravated vehicle taking, driving over the alcohol limit, having no insurance and being a provisional driver.

Jailing him for a total of 12 months and banning him from driving for 18 months, Recorder Gary Cook said he had seen photographs of the car embedded in the wall of the house.

He said had the householder been downstairs at the time “she might well have been killed and you would have been facing a far more serious charge and sentence.”

For possible use in the YP From the Archive series.''10th May 1988''THE MIGHTY Mallard, pride of Britain's railway history, puffed into Leeds Station today with a raging thirst.''It was pulling such a heavy load - 12 carriages carrying 250 top Post Office customers and stamp collectors - that it needed extra water supplies at Holbeck.''"The last thing we wanted was the boiler blowing up on Britain's pride and joy," said Mr Philip Round, Post Office Information Officer.''Mallard was making a special run across the Pennines from Manchester Victoria to mark two major anniversaries:

Leeds nostalgia: Mallard pulls into Leeds to mark 50th anniversary of world speed record... in 1988