Wales politics

Bethan Jenkins AM banned for 20 months for drink-driving

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Media captionBethan Jenkins was found to be more than twice the drink-drive limit

Suspended Plaid Cymru Welsh assembly member Bethan Jenkins has been banned from driving for 20 months after pleading guilty to drink-driving.

Jenkins, 30, was arrested early on Sunday, 14 October in Cardiff.

She was over twice the drink-drive limit, unsteady, barefoot and wearing pyjama-style bottoms, Cardiff magistrates court heard.

After the hearing she said in a statement that she was deeply sorry and coming to terms with depression.

Jenkins had been to a 40th birthday party and had had too much to drink before being stopped by police in Llandaff, the court was told.

She spoke only to confirm her name, address and plea.

She was fighting back tears as Judge Bodfan Jenkins banned her from driving.

He said it was a very high reading, over twice the legal limit for driving, and that she had embarked on a fairly lengthy journey when her ability to drive was seriously compromised.

The judge added that the risk involved was "phenomenal".

After the case, a spokesman for the South Wales West AM issued a statement, which said: "This incident is one I regret wholeheartedly and I am deeply sorry.

"On this occasion I fell well below the standards I expect of myself and I therefore fully accept the judge's decision in this matter."

Jenkins also thanked the police for how they handled the incident.

'Difficult period'

The statement continued: "This has been a difficult period, in which I have begun to come to terms with depression for the first time.

"Friends and others, including many from South Wales West, the region I represent with tremendous pride, have shown wonderful support for which I am truly thankful.

"I will always be grateful to them for their kindness, which has been a great source of comfort."

Jenkins was suspended from Plaid Cymru's assembly group following her arrest while the legal process was happening.

She also resigned her position as the party's spokeswoman on heritage, the Welsh language and sport.

Alun Ffred Jones, chair of the Plaid Cymru assembly group, said: "Bethan Jenkins has pleaded guilty to the serious and irresponsible crime of driving whilst under the influence of alcohol.

"She is currently on sickness leave and her suspension from the group will continue until her return to work when the group will consider the matter further. In the meantime we will be making no further comment."

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