Meg Mathews banned from roads for drink-driving after book launch

The former music PR was more than twice the legal limit when she hit a parked car in Newquay, Cornwall, earlier this month.

Rod Minchin
Friday 28 July 2023 14:24 BST
Meg Mathews pleaded guilty to drink-driving (Ian West/PA)
Meg Mathews pleaded guilty to drink-driving (Ian West/PA) (PA Archive)

Britpop figure Meg Mathews has been banned from the roads for drink-driving after crashing her car following a book signing while more than twice the limit.

The 57-year-old appeared before Cornwall Magistrates’ Court in Bodmin on Friday following the incident in Newquay earlier this month.

The court heard the former music PR executive had a “couple of drinks” at a book launch on the evening of July 7 and after the event planned to stay at a friend’s house nearby.

The friend wanted to see Mathews’s new Jeep Wrangler car, so Mathews went for a drive – but very soon collided with a parked car in Stret Ewyn, Nansledan – causing minor damage.

The owner of the vehicle called police at around 9.15pm and Mathews failed a roadside breath test and was arrested.

Magistrates were told her reading was 77mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath – with the legal limit being 35mg.

Mathews, of Hilgrove Mews, Newquay, appeared in court by videolink and pleaded guilty to a charge of driving a motor vehicle with an alcohol level above the limit.

She spoke only to confirm her name, date of birth and address during the short hearing.

Steven Cox, defending, said Mathews was of previous good character and had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

“She was at a book signing and a number of people turned up,” he said.

“It was the first time she had spoken publicly for a number of years and she was quite nervous, and they offered her a couple of drinks.

“Unfortunately, those drinks were not pub-level drinks and were not measured properly and they had a lot more alcohol in them than she originally thought.

“At the end of the evening she attempts to stay at her friend’s house, which is literally just round the corner from where they were.

“Her friend asked to see her car first because it is a new car, and she hadn’t seen it. They went round to look at the vehicle and it was at that point she made the stupid decision to drive.

“She said she reached the first bend and that’s where she clipped the car causing minor damage, scrapes, there’s no serious body damage.

“She stopped immediately, and the owner of the vehicle came out who had called the police. She was exchanging details when the police arrived.

“They arrived, she blew over the limit and was arrested and taken into custody.

“Unfortunately, some of the things that have been in the papers about her rolling on the ground and about her shouting never actually happened. It was a very simple drink-driving matter.

“She was at the police station and she was upset because people at the scene were taking photos of her and she knew this would probably end up in the press.

“She says she wants to extend her gratitude to the police officers who helped her get calm, got her a drink and helped her relax.

“She said to me, ‘I take full responsibility and accountability for what I did, and I want to end by apologising again for you having to hear this case due to my bad judgment. I will never do this again’.”

The court heard Mathews has “no actual salary” but would be able to pay any fine and costs within 14 days, and wants to complete the drink-driving rehabilitation course.

Magistrates banned Mathews from driving for 20 months, fined her £440 and ordered her to pay a £176 surcharge and £85 prosecution costs.

“You would have been fined £660 but because of your early guilty plea we have given you full credit,” presiding justice Paul Shenton said.

“You will be disqualified from driving for a period of 20 months. There were two aggravating factors in relation to this offence and they were that you were carrying a passenger and you collided with another vehicle.

“We have taken into account that you are of previous good character, and we feel 20 months is the correct period of disqualification for this offence.”

If Mathews completes a drink-driving rehabilitation course, her driving ban will be reduced by 20 weeks.

During the 1990s she was one of the most recognisable faces during the Britpop era and was previously married to former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher.

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