Wiltshire priest banned for drink-driving

Image caption,
Bede Rowe said he was thankful no one was hurt

A Wiltshire priest has been banned from driving for 24 months after admitting drink-driving and failing to stop after an accident.

Father Bede Rowe, 39, of St George's Catholic Church in Warminster, appeared at Chippenham Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

Rowe was also fined £360 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £15 surcharge. The incident happened early on 16 May.

He earlier told the BBC he was thankful no one was hurt.

The priest missed Sunday Mass after spending the night in cells.

Rowe told BBC Wiltshire he had gone to a parishioner's home on the Saturday evening to do a house blessing and had planned to get a taxi back.

He said he drank wine and another parishioner had given him a lift home, but he realised he did not have his house keys.

He said: "I walked back to the house and for whatever reason, to this day I have no idea why, I then got into my car and drove back, collided with railings on the high street and the police, who were excellent, very professional and very kind, took me to Melksham police station and I was released the next day."

When told he could have killed someone, Rowe said: "I try not to think of what could have happened. If you had asked me two weeks ago, 'could I be in this situation?' the answer would be a hundred times 'no'. And yet I was.

"This is a small, a miniscule price to pay for what could have happened. I count myself incredibly lucky. Thank God nobody was hurt."

He said parishioners had been "incredibly supportive".

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