Drunken house smash driver’s car theft hoax

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A DRINK-driver who fled the scene after crashing his car into a house brazenly tried to trick police into believing his car had been stolen.

Christian Ince continued to maintain his innocence to police, despite changing his story, until DNA evidence proved that specks of saliva found on the airbag of his Mazda were a perfect match with a sample taken from him.

Wigan Magistrates’ Court heard how Diane Rushworth and her family were awoken by an almighty bang at about 3.30am on April 20.

When she looked out of the bedroom window she saw that a car had smashed into the front of her home.

Katie Beattie, prosecuting, told how the impact was so great that windows both downstairs and upstairs were smashed along with the front door, an internal wall and the dividing wall between Mrs Rushworth’s house and her neighbour’s home.

The court was told that a building inspector then had to be called to check it was safe to remove the car.

Another witness told how she saw a drunk man staggering away from the scene in Twist Lane, Leigh, less than four minutes after the crash.

She said the man had been sat upright in the driver’s seat and did not answer when she asked if he was okay.

But when she shouted to the people inside the house to check if they were okay, the man got out of the vehicle and started zig-zagging his way down the street.

A barman at nearby Cafe Stella also saw Ince staggering away and recognised him as a customer he had served during the night.

Police sent a dog handler and deployed the force helicopter in a bid to track down Ince, but found no trace of him.

But less than 12 hours later the defendant contacted the police to report his car stolen.

He claimed he had stayed with friends after boozing in four different bars.

But officers became suspicious when he changed his account and hesitated when asked to roll up his sleeves.

When interviewed after police found the DNA match, Ince claimed he couldn’t remember anything as he had been too drunk.

Mr Halliwell, defending, said his client deserved credit for pleading guilty to all three charges - failing to stop after an accident, driving without due care and attention and obstructing the police.

He claimed Ince, of Wilson Close, St Helens, had since turned his life around and would be likely to lose his job if he was given a custodial sentence.

Magistrates told Ince: “You were very calculating and manipulative in a bid to evade detection by the police.

“Only when a DNA test was conducted did you cease to maintain your car had been stolen.

“On your own admission, you had consumed copious amounts of alcohol and gave no regard for the victims inside the house.”

He was given a 12-week jail sentence - suspended for 12 months - and was banned from driving for a period of two years.

Ince was also ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work, a six-month alcohol treatment programme and pay £85 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.