Boy, 13, gets four months in prison for drink driving

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The Independent Online

A 13-year-old boy, thought to be Britain's youngest convicted drink-driver, was given a four-month custodial sentence yesterday.

Jon Smee, from Salford, Greater Manchester, looked shocked and shaken as he was handcuffed and led away at Salford magistrates' court.

He was caught on 31 October last year after he drove a stolen Ford Mondeo at 70mph in a 30mph zone, narrowly missing a pedestrian and losing control of the car.

District Judge John Finestein took the unusual step of naming the defendant, who is only 4ft 10in tall, because he hoped it would alert the public and stop him offending again.

Smee, who has a number of previous convictions and has been disqualified from driving before, pleaded guilty last month to drink-driving, aggravated vehicle taking and driving with no insurance.

Pam Johal, for the prosecution, said: "The pedestrian ... heard a screech of tyres and saw the car driving over 30mph on the wrong side of the road.

"He said he felt the draught from the speed of the vehicle and was forced to take a step back as it approached him. He felt very shaken."

Smee continued to drive the stolen car without lights and on the wrong side of the road, reaching speeds of 70mph still in a 30mph zone.

As he approached a roundabout the front offside wheel hit the kerb, the tyre burst and Smee lost control of the car.

In May last year, Smee was issued with a referral order for interfering with a vehicle and in June he was given a supervision order for racially-aggravated violent behaviour.

Two months later, Smee was convicted of driving without due care and attention and, in September, of aggravated vehicle taking and interfering with a vehicle. He was also made the subject of two anti-social behaviour orders in relation to these offences.

Mike Gee, for the defence, told the court that Smee's parents both worked nights and that the 13-year-old had left home with an older sister.

Mr Finestein sentenced Smee to a four-month detention and training order and disqualified him from driving for four years. He said: "The risks you took were just frightening."