Lawyer jailed over drink-drive lies

 

A City lawyer who claimed he was the victim of a kidnap to avoid
being arrested for drink-driving has been jailed, Sussex Police said.

Francis Bridgeman, 43, attempted to create an elaborate web of lies to cover up the drink-driving offence, but was sentenced to 12 months at Lewes Crown Court today.

Bridgeman's Land Rover Sport was found locked and in a ditch in Shovers Green, Ticehurst, East Sussex, at about 1am on April 7, 2010, having crashed into a telegraph pole, police said.

Officers traced the Land Rover to Bridgeman's home in Wards Lane, Wadhurst, but the lawyer claimed armed men had kidnapped him in the car park of Wadhurst railway station, before driving him off at knifepoint with a bag over his head in another vehicle and then dumping him in Cousley Wood.

Sussex Police said a breath test carried out at his home proved he was just over the drink-drive limit and he was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving.

Police launched a kidnap investigation but Bridgeman's recollection of events could not be substantiated, police said.

British Transport Police CCTV footage showed him walking in a drunken manner on the platform at London Bridge railway station following an evening out with work colleagues.

Bridgeman's DNA was found on the Land Rover's airbag, showing that he must have been driving the car when it crashed, Sussex Police added.

He was charged with perverting the course of justice, drink-driving, driving without due care and attention and failing to report a road accident.

Police said it took just 45 minutes for the jury to find him guilty following a five-day trial at Brighton Crown Court in December last year.

Detective Constable Emma Penrose-Reed, from East Sussex CID, said: "Francis Bridgeman attempted to create an elaborate web of lies and deceit around his bid to cover up his drink-driving offence and deflect attention away from himself.

"He tried to portray himself as a victim of crime and continually displayed acts of ill health throughout the investigation.

"But due to the hard work, considerable amount of resources and close liaison with our valuable partners at British Transport Police, we were able to discredit his fabricated story and bring him to justice."

Judge Guy Anthony banned Bridgeman from driving for 18 months and ordered that he pay £4,200 costs.

Quoting a line from Sir Walter Scott's poem Marmion, he said: "Oh, What a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive."

He added: "You wasted valuable police time and public expense in order to escape a drink-driving offence when you should have had the courage and decency to plead guilty from the outset. To pervert the course of justice is a serious offence and warrants a custodial sentence."

PA

News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape