Retired psychologist, 70, crashed after driving while banned

Court news
Court news

A 70-year-old retired psychologist, and pastor in an internet-based Christian charity, was sent home from hospital after treatment for a ‘series of health issues’, despite there being no one at home to support him and no food in the house, Boston Magistrates’ Court court was told yesterday (January 22).

As a result, Dr Peter Whitlam, who said he detected he was about to ‘go into a diabetic incident’ and needed sugar, had to drive his car to go and get sugar from a shop two miles away, even though he was banned from driving.

Dr Whitlam of Mumby Meadows in Mumby, near Alford, who used a stick as he went into court and was allowed to remain seated throughout the proceedings, had been banned from driving for 40 months in August 2018, following his third conviction for drunk driving.

He admitted driving while disqualified.

Prosecuting, Jim Clare said that Whitlam failed to negotiate a bend on the A52 at Mumby and ended up trapped in his car in a ditch at 5.30pm on August 20 last year.

He said Whitlam had head and facial injuries and was admitted to hospital again, so he could not be interviewed until October.

He told the police that the day before the accident, he had just come out of hospital and gone back to his house, but there was no food so he had taken his car out as he couldn’t walk and there was no-one to give him a lift.

He said he had ‘blacked out’ at the wheel and ended up in the ditch.

Speaking to the magistrates, Whitlam, who was not represented, said he ‘fully acknowledged’ his guilt and that he ‘knew what he was doing’.

He said he had a series of health issues and he needed some food, because he had started to go into a diabetic incident and needed sugar.

He said the nearest shop was two miles away and he had to take the car but he had blacked out while driving.

He told the magistrates he had now ‘got rid of the car’ and would need a medical assessment before he would be allowed to drive again.

The magistrates said there were other ways he could have tackled it, such as calling a friend or using a taxi, and he should have been aware of just how serious it might have been.

They extended his driving ban by 12 months until December 2021 and, after hearing his total income was less than £1,000 a month, ordered him to pay a fine of £120 and £117 in court costs and charges.

On his website, Dr Whitlam states he is an ordained pastor in the International Pentecostal Church and has a doctorate in Cognitive Psychology from the International Management Centre.