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Driver was 'stumbling and slurring his speech' when stopped on A9 by Aviemore

By Ali Morrison

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A 33 year old man who turned to alcohol to blot out the memory of a friend falling to his death from a balcony will be sentenced next month for failing to provide police with two breath specimens.

Kieran Farrell of Thorn Tree Place, Oakley, pleaded guilty to the offences which occurred on the A9 between Kingussie and Aviemore and at Burnett Road Police Station in Inverness on June 4, earlier this year.

Fiscal depute Karen Poke told Sheriff Robert Frazer that other motorists became concerned by Farrell's erratic driving and when he pulled into a lay-by, they followed him.

When he got out of the car, Ms Poke said he "was stumbling, slurring his speech, had a vacant look and he smelled strongly of alcohol. Police were called.

He refused the road-side test telling officers: 'It is quite simply No!'

"He was taken to Inverness where he again refused to provide a sample, and asked for an explanation, he said: 'No. Why should you tell me what to do. You are police, you are public servants.'," Ms Poke added.

Defence solicitor David Patterson told Inverness Sheriff Court of his client's tragic tale.

"He has had various issues with alcohol for most of his adult life as a result of PTSD.

"He witnessed a friend fall from a balcony and has been using alcohol as a coping mechanism.

"He was working in Inverness for a short while but went off the rails and his decline was rapid. He is now living with his parents in Fife and has been hospitalised for a detox." Mr Patterson said.

Sheriff Frazer deferred sentence until August 17 for Farrell's personal appearance and a background report.

He was disqualified from driving in the interim.

View our fact sheet on court reporting here

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