Glasgow & West Scotland

Dumbarton woman drove without licence for 45 years

A pensioner who drove without a licence for 45 years has been fined after police caught her using a fake.

Dumbarton Sheriff Court heard that 71-year-old Mary Burke's fake licence was so convincing, she had received penalty points for speeding in 2002.

She pleaded guilty to driving her Mercedes without a licence along with a breach of the Identity Documents Act.

She was fined £750 by Sheriff William Gallacher, who called her actions "utterly wilful".

During a hearing in April, prosecutor David McDonald described how the pensioner, who lives in Dumbarton, had handed over a document she claimed was her licence after being stopped by police during a routine traffic stop in November.

'Preserve a pretence'

However, when officers later checked it against their database, they discovered she only had an expired provisional licence.

Defence agent Virgil Crawford told Dumbarton Sheriff Court on Friday that his client had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and had been given between six months and two years to live.

Sheriff Gallacher banned her from driving for a year and told her that he would have fined her £1,000 had it not been for her guilty plea.

He added: "You were utterly wilful in relation to your decision to be driving.

"You knew you were not entitled to drive and, in order to protect and preserve a pretence of normality, you had this document in your possession, for some period of time, so you could simply flout the Road Traffic Act."

He said driving tests showed that people had "the experience, quality and ability to drive" but that she ignored it, adding: "You said, 'that doesn't apply to me, I'll just drive anyway'.

"This is a very serious matter."

After leaving court, Mary Burke said she never planned to drive again.