Corporate lawyer, almost four times over drink-drive limit, is jailed

Corporate lawyer, 41, who was almost four times the drink-drive limit after drinking incorrectly brewed Kombucha tea is jailed for ten weeks

  • Louise Taylor, 41, received a ten-week prison sentence and 31-month driving ban
  • She downed ‘two glasses’ of friends homemade Kombucha tea before setting off
  • Ms Taylor’s friend said drink was good for gut after Coeliac disease diagnosis
  • The corporate lawyer had ‘slurred speech’ and her eyes were ‘red and glazed’ 
  • Ms Taylor wept as she was led from the dock to the cells following sentencing

A corporate lawyer who was caught four times over the drink-drive limit in her Range Rover after downing ‘two glasses’ of her friend’s homemade Kombucha tea has been jailed.

Louise Taylor, from Sandbach in Cheshire, had been diagnosed with Coeliac disease, which affects the gut, so her friend gave her the ‘disgusting’ drink because it was good for her gut health. 

But the wrong type of yeast – a brewer’s variety – had been used in the drink, making it alcoholic. 

The 41-year-old then downed ‘two glasses’ of the tea before taking a water bottle, which was filled up with the homemade liquid, on the road with her.

A police officer who followed Ms Taylor said the lawyer had ‘slurred speech’, was ‘unsteady’ on her feet and her eyes were ‘red and glazed’. 

She admitted driving her 4×4 on the A55 dual carriageway with a breath-alcohol count of 135. The legal limit is 35. 

Ms Taylor – who takes home more than £66,000-a-year – wept as she was led from the dock to the cells. She was handed a ten-week prison sentence and a 31-month driving ban, which will be reduced if she completed a drink-drivers’ course. 

Louise Taylor, 41, (Pictured) was handed a ten-week prison sentence and a 31-month driving ban, which will be reduced if she completed a drink-drivers’ course

Ms taylor (Above) was caught four times over the drink-drive limit in her Range Rover after downing  at least ‘two glasses’ of her friend’s home-made Kombucha tea

Llandudno, North Wales, magistrates’ chairman Toby Prosser told Ms Taylor that she ‘lacked remorse’ or ‘recognition’ of responsibility for the offence. 

He said: ‘You appear to have a lack of remorse or recognition of any responsibility for the offence.

How to make homemade Kombucha

Kombucha is a refreshingly fizzy, slightly sour, fermented drink made from sweetened tea and is mostly non-alcoholic.

Homemade kombucha typically has an alcohol content of no more than 1%, but the longer the kombucha ferments, the more alcoholic the drink gets. 

Ingredients:

2 organic green teabags (or 2 tsp loose leaf)

2 organic black teabags bags (or 2 tsp loose leaf)

100-200g granulated sugar, to taste

1 medium ‘scoby’ which stands for a ‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast’, plus 100-200ml starter liquid 

 (via BBC good food)

‘We are in a position where we have to stick to our guidelines and apply justice in the right way.’ 

At a previous hearing before the case was adjourned for sentencing, Ms Taylor said her friend, had told her the ‘disgusting’ herbal drink was good for gut health. 

She told the court: ‘I didn’t believe it was alcoholic’, saying her friend Angela Morrison brewed it using yeast and mushrooms.   

Ms Taylor said her friend Angela brewed the drink using yeast and mushrooms and didn’t know the drink was alcoholic, too, at the time.

‘I’m not a massive drinker at all,’ the general counsel and company secretary for a bank, had insisted in evidence.

She admitted driving her 4×4, bearing a personalised number plate, on the A55 dual carriageway with a breath-alcohol count of 135. The legal limit is 35.

Her previous defence lawyer had said it appeared the wrong type of yeast – a brewer’s variety – was used in making the drink.

Prosecutor Diane Williams said on the evening of April 22 police were behind the vehicle at Rhuallt, as it travelled ‘all over the road.’ Taylor was stopped at St Asaph and her speech had been slurred.

A PC, who followed the white Range Rover Sport for six miles, using blue lights and siren to try and stop it, said it had been drifting on the hard shoulder and nearly collided with a number of wagons while overtaking.

A bottle in the vehicle was half full of a liquid which smelled of alcohol. 

Ms Taylor, who said she was ‘head of legal’, described how she had met a friend at Knutsford in the morning to take their dogs for a walk. She then went for lunch in a hotel restaurant and shared a bottle of wine.

She had stopped to see her friend Angela at Connah’s Quay on the way to Abergele. 

Ms Taylor said she had been diagnosed with Coeliac disease, affecting the gut.

She said her friend wouldn’t knowingly give her alcohol and she had at least two glasses of the tea drink Kombucha – also drank from a water bottle containing it as she drove. 

She had also taken four antihistamines for hayfever that day and started feeling unwell.

Ms Taylor said she took the drink ‘in good faith’ and maintained : ‘I didn’t knowingly drink and drive.’

A probation officer said there was still ‘some minimisation’ of the offence by Ms Taylor who separated from her partner last year. 

She was currently living at Abergele in a house inherited following the loss of her mother and intended to sell her Cheshire property.

The officer said Ms Taylor insisted she ‘rarely’ drinks.

Defence solicitor Andrew Hutchinson said there were no previous convictions and Taylor took home more than £66,000-a-year. 

The risk of her re-offending was extremely low and the court appearance had caused ‘huge embarrassment.’ 

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