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Driver jailed for drunken 60mph crash that buried landlord under pub wall

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: July 06, 2012

  • The Three Elms Public House

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A drink-driver has been jailed for crashing into a pub and leaving its landlord seriously injured under tons of rubble.

Leigh Brennan lost control of his Volvo car as he drove through narrow town centre streets at 60mph and slammed into the porch of the Three Elms pub in Brixham, Devon.

He had already collided with a Mini car just yards away, injuring the driver and passenger, but did not stop and sped away before losing control and hitting the pub.

Landlord Kevin O’Neill was standing in the doorway and suffered a crushed pelvis, broken ribs and spinal injuries after being buried under masonry.

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Customers rushed out and dug him out with their hands as Brennan staggered out of his car and shouted abuse at them and police when they arrived at the scene, refusing to take a breath test.

The pub’s entire pool team had been stood in the doorway just moments before the crash after arriving back from an away game at 11pm. A judge said it was a miracle that nobody was killed.

Brennan, aged 45, of Downfield Close, Brixham, admitted dangerous driving and was jailed for 12 months and banned from driving for two years by recorder John Williams at Exeter Crown Court.

Brennan was already serving a ban after admitting

a failure to give a breath sample.

The recorder told him: “Your speed was grossly excessive, in the region of 50 or 60mph, and all the evidence points to the fact you had been drinking.

“The effect on Kevin O’Neill was very serious. He needed three operations and the occupants of the Mini were also injured. It is a miracle it was not far worse.

“Remorse was totally absent at the scene or at the police station, however, you have come to your senses since and expressed your regret for your actions.

“In this case your driving was appalling and there is the aggravating feature that you were drunk, which was no doubt the reason why you were driving grossly too fast in town streets.”

Jason Beal, prosecuting, said the driver of the Mini saw Brennan’s Volvo coming at him but could not steer away in time to stop a collision in which he and his passenger suffered cuts and bruises.

He said: “Brennan carried on driving for 100 yards until he reached the Three Elms pub, where he collided with a porch while the landlord Mr O’Neill was underneath it.

“He suffered serious injuries and was still unable to walk some weeks afterwards. The defendant was helped from the car and was obviously drunk.

“He told police his driving was stupid rather than dangerous.”

Philip Miles, defending, said Brennan now recognises he has a problem with drink and has sought help.

He said: “He has made great strides since this incident and is changing his life around.

He deserves credit for his plea of guilty.”

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  • Chunder123  |  July 08 2012, 8:30PM

    more needs to be done on driving test and people need psychological profiling on driving tests. I see an increasing contempt from many drivers towards pedestrians and other road users and lack of patience towards people taking their time to take their turn when its their turn. It really sickens me to see how some drivers show no empathy towards pedestrians and hurry them across e.t.c. All for a worthless metal machine

    |   1
  • jaxx6154  |  July 07 2012, 2:59PM

    Surely if you are already banned that negates your insurance, so the driver was uninsured too. This sentence was far too lenient - it shouldn't matter how much remorse is shown (note, none was until it went to court!) this type of behaviour needs proper punishment and a lifetime driving ban - imprisonment if found to be driving! The law is a joke.

    |   4
  • Tony248  |  July 06 2012, 8:34PM

    Pathetically lenient sentence in a case where it was only by the grace of God no one was killed. It is time lunatics like this were made a proper example of. Three to five years surely more appropriate followed by 10 year ban. It is frightening to think it won't be long before this man is back behind the wheel of a car.

    |   13
  • maninmuffti  |  July 06 2012, 8:03PM

    12 mths , what a joke she have been locked in a cell and the door welded up

    |   3
  • CarltonClub  |  July 06 2012, 4:58PM

    The community need to take action against individuals such as this.

    |   9
  • Sinjis_Things  |  July 06 2012, 12:52PM

    Only 12 months, that's a joke. He should have got at least 3 years and to go with that he should have to fully compensate his victims and when he comes out of prison he should be banned from driving for at least 3 years.

    |   23