A CREWKERNE woman who admitted a drink driving offence has escaped a driving ban after claiming she had only driven because she was scared for her life after being attacked.

Police were called to a late-night disturbance in the town centre and saw Katie Elizabeth Goldingay driving away from the scene in her car.

After failing a roadside breath test she was arrested and admitted she had been drinking before getting behind the wheel.

However, when she appeared before Somerset Magistrates at Yeovil she said she had only fled the scene in her car after being attacked by another woman who kicked her in the head and nearly bit her finger off.

Goldingay, 26, of Market Street, pleaded guilty to driving a vehicle on South Street in Crewkerne on July 15 after consuming excess alcohol.

At a previous court hearing prosecutor Richard Parkhouse said police were called at 11.50pm by a member of the public who reported a fight going on outside the Old Stagecoach Inn in Station Road.

“The officers saw the defendant and a male get into a dark coloured VW Golf and left the pub and saw it travelling on South Street so followed it,” he said.

“It stopped at the rear of the Waitrose supermarket and a roadside breath test was conducted which Goldingay failed.”

She was arrested and taken to Bridgwater police station where a further test gave a reading of 55mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg of alcohol.

The defendant told the magistrates that she went out that night and had a few drinks and on that night, a woman attacked her.

She said: “I got kicked in the head and nearly had my finger bitten off and the woman was with a group of other people.

“At the time I felt scared for my life and just had to get out of the situation.

“I would never have driven if I had not been assaulted and I need a driving licence and a clean criminal record to carry on with my job.”

Defending solicitor Jeffrey Bannister said that Goldingay sustained injuries all over her body as a result of the attack and the distance she drove was relatively short.

“It was an unprovoked attack on her by someone she did not know, and where other people then joined in,” he said.

The case had been adjourned for a special reasons hearing to take place for the magistrates to decide whether there were special reasons not to disqualify the defendant from driving.

After hearing evidence in the case the magistrates gave Goldingay an absolute discharge and said they were not imposing a driving ban.

Instead they endorsed her driving record with six penalty points and ordered her to pay £85 costs.

In determining the sentence the Bench said they had found special reasons not to disqualify the defendant due to her having been assaulted and that she was in fear during the attack.

They also concluded there had been no taxi available in the vicinity, her partner had been over the drink drive limit at the time and therefore could not drive her vehicle.

They also said the defendant had run to her car as a means of escape from the situation and she was unaware at the time that the police had been called.