A COUPLE were caught drink-driving within two hours of each other on the same city road on New Year’s Day.

Police first stopped BT worker Patrick Ochila in Oxpens Road, Oxford, shortly before 4am on January 1 and took him into custody, Oxford Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday.

His partner Julie De La Haut was in the passenger seat and told officers she would get a taxi back to their Carterton home.

But the officers who held Ochila, 31, later caught the 24-year-old driving the couple’s Nissan down the same road shortly after 5am.

The couple, of Bracken Close, Carterton, were banned from driving and fined after admitting drink-driving yesterday.

Ochila appeared in the dock first and was disqualified for 18 months and fined £375 for having 67 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath, above the legal limit of 35 micrograms.

De La Haut was banned for 20 months and fined £300 after being found with 81 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath.

Sarah Mackay, prosecuting, said police had watched De La Haut drive around the Oxpens car park before turning on to Oxpens Road with the car lights off.

But Angela Porter, defending the couple, said neither had previous convictions.

She said: “I am sure you can realise the consequences on the family will be severe. They are going to have to work out how to best manage without being able to drive.”

Both motorists also wrote letters to the magistrates in mitigation.

Presiding magistrate Roger Clarke, sentencing, told Ochila: “You come across as a decent, honest, hard-working family man so it is a great shame to see you in this position.”

When sentencing De La Haut, he said: “We appreciate you found yourself in a vulnerable position in Oxford without funds – quite a frightening position – and it is possible you didn’t think straight.

“But nevertheless your actions were dangerous.”

He added: “You have both made a mistake. It is a great tragedy, a great shame for you as a couple.”

Ochila was also told to pay £85 costs and a £37 victims’ surcharge while De La Haut was told to pay £50 costs and a £30 victims’ surcharge.