A WOMAN with what is believed to be one of the worst records in Northern Ireland for driving without insurance has been caught for a 29th time, Ballymena Magistrates Court heard on Thursday.
Louise Todd (42), of Blackthorn Rise in Larne, had the latest offence detected when she passed police officers in Larne town centre and they noticed she was using a hand-held mobile phone whilst at the wheel of a Peugeot car.
It then emerged she was not insured during the incident – on August 9 this year.
A recent court heard the defendant had 28 previous convictions for driving without insurance and a defence lawyer said those incidents had happened a number of years ago and the defendant had a clean licence again.
At Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday, defence barrister Neil Moore said the “multitude” of insurance offences had built up at at time when the defendant had been in a “particularly unpleasant” relationship with a “well-known individual” from the Larne area who “used” her and she had “driven him around”.
Mr Moore said Todd has now moved on in her life and had been legitimately on the road for a number of years.
In August this year her bluetooth connection wasn’t working and she her answered a call on her mobile phone whilst using a vehicle at Point Street in Larne.
Mr Moore said at the time the defendant had been adamant she was insured but it turned out her policy had expired three days previously – a matter she subsequently rectified.
Deputy District Judge Trevor Browne said he was prepared to accept there had been an “oversight” in the insurance being renewed in August this year and he gave the defendant six penalty points and a £100 fine.
Fining the defendant £200 and giving her an extra three penalty points for the mobile phone offence the judge added: “The message has to get out there that you cannot drive with a phone”.