Drink-drive doctor shopped by her partner near Halifax home

Dr Clare Holdsworth, 43. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Dr Clare Holdsworth, 43. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
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A DOCTOR from West Yorkshire was reported to police by her long term partner after she took his car to buy alcohol when she was already nearly four times over the legal limit for driving, Magistrates heard.

Despite the high reading, she escaped jail yesterday after the court was told she was taking positive steps to deal with her drinking.

Disgraced consultant anaesthetist Clare Holdsworth, 44, was stopped by police only yards from her house on the morning of October 3 last year.

Officers had been alerted by her long-term partner who called 999 to warn them Holdsworth was drunk and had taken his car, which she was not insured to drive, to stock up with more alcohol.

After being stopped near her home in Halifax, the court heard that she refused a request to give a breath test and kept asking officers “will you just let me go home”.

Calderdale Magistrates Court heard that she refused to get out of the car and reached for a bottle of vodka mix.

Officers then spotted a “bag containing cans and bottles in the footwell”.

Holdsworth screamed at the officers as they tried to slap handcuffs on her when she was taken into custody.

When she was finally tested her breath recorded 135mcgs of alcohol in 100mls of breath, against the legal limit of 35mcgs.

Holdsworth, who is now living on benefits because she no longer works for the local health authority, was handed a 12-month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work after JPs heard she had been attending alcoholics anonymous meetings and a support group.

Malcolm Nowell, Holdsworth’s solicitor, told the court that she no longer works for the health authority, and is claiming employment benefits of £70 a week, but now “devoted her energies to work with people who have similar illnesses”.

The court previously heard that Holdsworth, who had worked as a consultant anaesthetist in Calderdale and Huddersfield since 2005, has been suspended since December 2010 following an admission to her manager she had once had a drink while on duty.

Speaking at that earlier hearing, Mr Nowell said: “She has always been able to cope with the demands of the job and thought she had a good relationship with her boss. She mentioned the difficulties she was having and that on one occasion she had had a drink while on duty.

“She thought that would be met with some sympathy and understanding, but she was reported to the GMC.

“She had drunk a significant amount on the night before the offence. She was stopped because her partner called the police because he was concerned for her and for the public,” he said.

Mr Nowell told the court yesterday that Holdsworth, who admitted driving while over the limit and driving without insurance, had made great improvements with her alcohol problem.

Holdsworth was also disqualified from driving for 32 months and will have to pay £85 in costs.

Speaking after the hearing, Holdsworth said: “I don’t really have anything to say. I’m perfectly happy with the sentence.”

Magistrates are bound by law to ban those convicted of drink driving for at least 12 months, unless there are exceptional circumstances, but they can impose much more severe penalties in serious cases.