Businessman banned for driving while using mobile

First published in News

A BUSINESSMAN who sold his house in Wolverley to help boost the family finances as his firm faltered has been banned from the road for six months for driving while using a mobile phone.

Jonathan Westwood lost an appeal at Worcester Crown Court against the disqualification and must also pay £200 towards the costs of the hearing.

A police patrol followed him at Mustow Green near Kidderminster after spotting him on the phone in his wife's car.

He was taking an incoming call from his daughter he was due to pick up at a railway station, said David Iles, prosecuting.

Westwood, 56, now of Woodgate Road, Stoke Prior, was banned due to totting-up because he already had nine points on his licence before an extra three points was added for the phone offence.

He pleaded exceptional hardship, explaining that he travelled 30,000 miles a year as a director of a retail property company which employed another six staff.

He said the last three years had been the worst he had experienced in 35 years due to the economic downturn.

The father-of-two expected the firm to make a sizeable loss this year despite projects in Worcester, Pershore, Blackpool and Wales.

He claimed it was too expensive to employ a driver and said his wife was too nervous to ferry him around meeting clients following a bad motorway smash in which she was injured.

Westwood said the family was living off the capital from his Wolverley house sale and claimed his business would "probably fail" unless he kept his licence.

Defending, Shawn Williams said Westwood had been through a disastrous day shortly before he was stopped by police on July 21 last year.

He had accidentally immobilised two cars and was worried about leaving his daughter stranded at the railway station.

Rejecting the appeal, Judge Christopher Plunkett said the case was not one of exceptional hardship.

He pointed out that in 2009 Westwood's "drawings" from business ventures totalled £170,000.

Westwood was also fined £55 and ordered to pay £160 costs at the magistrates' hearing.

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