Drunk driver sobs in court after witnessing ‘gruesome’ murders


A man was found to have exceeded the drink-driving limit almost three times after parking his van in the middle of a road and then driving through red lights in a high-speed police chase.

Joseph Sammon, of Brook Lane, Ormskirk, pleaded guilty to driving while over the legal limit for alcohol and driving without diligence at Preston Magistrates’ Court this morning (Tuesday).

Police were called after reports of “strange behavior” by the driver of a blue Volkswagen Caddy pickup truck on Southport Road, Scarisbrick on February 27.

READ MORE: Man throws stools at staff in takeout rampage after ‘refusing to pay for food’

When they approached the van, which was parked in the middle of the road, around 9 a.m., Sammon got off near Pool Hey Lane.

Shortly after, he stopped the vehicle, before stepping onto a high sidewalk twice.

Sammon then turned right when giving way, without stopping or indicating, before accelerating to 40 mph, overtaking other vehicles and crossing a red light.

When heavy traffic in the area finally forced a halt, officers recalled there was a “very obvious smell of intoxicants” and said Sammon “was having difficulty standing.”

A breathalyzer showed Sammon gave a reading of 103 micrograms of alcohol in 100 milliliters of breath, nearly three times the legal limit.

The court heard that the 43-year-old man had already been convicted, in particular for traffic violations.

Sammon cried in court, while his lawyer, Mr. Lee, read a statement he wrote, in which he was “very sorry, ashamed and embarrassed.”

The court heard that Sammon suffered from PTSD and other mental illnesses after witnessing hideous murders “many years ago”.

Help lines and support groups

The following are helplines and support networks for people to talk to, most of which are listed on the NHS Choices website

  • Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24 hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you feel or are worried about being overheard over the phone, you can email The Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org.
  • CALM Campaign Against Living Miserably (0800 58 58 58) is a leading movement against suicide. It operates a helpline in the UK and online chat 5 p.m. to midnight 365 days a year for anyone who runs into a wall for any reason, needs to speak up or find information and support.
  • PANDAS (0808 1961 776) operates a free hotline and offers a support service for people who may have perinatal mental illness, including prenatal (prenatal) and postnatal depression, as well as support for their family or network.
  • Child line (0800 1111) operates a child and youth helpline in the UK. Calls are free and the number will not appear on your phone bill.
  • PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is an association of assistance to adolescents and young adults in situation of suicide.
  • Disturbs (0300 123 3393) is a charity that provides advice and support to empower anyone facing a mental health issue. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
  • Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, in a bad mood, or with suicidal thoughts.
  • Bullying United Kingdom is a website for children and adults affected by bullying.
  • Amparo provides emotional and practical support to anyone affected by suicide. This includes dealing with police and coroners; assist with media inquiries; prepare and attend an investigation and help access other appropriate local support services. Call 0330 088 9255 or visit www.amparo.org.uk for more details.

  • Hope Center is the UK’s most comprehensive national mental health support database. Download the free app, visit hubofhope.fr or send HOPE to 85258 to find relevant services near you.
  • Youth counseling service – Providing mental health and emotional well-being services to children, youth and families in Liverpool. tel: 0151 707 1025 e-mail: support@ypas.org.uk
  • Paul’s place – provide free counseling and group sessions to anyone living in Merseyside who has lost a family member or friend to suicide. Phone. : 0151 226 0696 or e-mail: paulsplace@beaconcounsellingtrust.co.uk
  • The Martin Gallier project – offer face-to-face support to people who are considering suicide and their families. Opening hours 9.30am-4.30pm, 7 days a week. Tel. : 0151 644 0294 e-mail: triage@gallierhouse.co.uk

Mr Lee said: “Two people were mutilated and murdered, it was horrible. Sammon was arrested but later cleared.

“What he witnessed still bothers him and he never received proper help with the trauma.”

The court heard that Sammon’s PTSD had broken out the night before he was found by police and that was when he started drinking.

He fell asleep in his van and said the police woke him up when they approached him around 9 a.m.

He would have considered committing suicide.

As an independent builder, magistrates heard, losing his driver’s license from Sammon would have “devastating effects” on his career and finances.

Sammon reportedly sought help with his mental health and found ways to cope with the trauma.

Magistrates today imposed a 12-week curfew on Sammon, between 9 p.m. and 5:30 a.m., with electronic surveillance.

As part of his sentence, he must also complete a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement (RAR) for 20 days.

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