Drink-drive policeman cleared of crash death

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A police officer who was about twice the drink-drive limit when he crashed on an icy road has been cleared of killing a female friend in the collision.

Brendan Buggie, 39, drank six pints in local pubs before ploughing his sports car into a parked van on the A56 in Ramsbottom, Greater Manchester.

Justyna Stanczak, 26, who was in the front seat of Buggie’s Toyota Celica, died of “massive internal bleeding” hours later, Bradford Crown Court has heard.

Buggie, of Ramsbottom, who was not on duty with Greater Manchester Police at the time and is suspended from the force, denied causing death by careless driving while over the prescribed limit. He was, however, found guilty of drink-driving by the jury following his trial.

He was warned by a judge that the case is so serious that he may still face a jail term when he is sentenced next month following pre-sentence reports.

Buggie, who has six expired speeding offences on his licence, was also banned from driving with immediate effect.

The jury, which took almost five hours to reach its verdict, heard that Buggie had spent the afternoon drinking and met Miss Stanczak after her shift at a bar in his home town on a freezing night last December.

The pair, who had recently started a relationship after Buggie split up with his partner of three years, walked back to his house.

But they were spotted by his ex-girlfriend’s mother and, fearing his ex would turn up, Buggie offered Miss Stanczak a lift to her Bury home at around midnight.

Buggie told the court he “felt sober” when he got behind the wheel and was driving within the 40mph speed limit.

A blood sample – taken after the breathalyser at the police station broke when he was taken into custody – showed he was over the limit, the court heard.

He said the roads looked damp and, although he did not notice ice on the surface, he had to remove hail from his windscreen.

Expert witnesses told the jury the road was extremely icy and the conditions treacherous.

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