Headteacher caught with cocaine while drink-driving banned for 18 months

A headteacher struggling with the pressures of his position and fighting mental health and drink problems has been fined after being caught drink-driving while in possession of cocaine.

Iain Gilmour, head of Isambard Brunel Junior School in Portsmouth, Hampshire, pleaded guilty at the city's magistrates' court to drink-driving and possession of a class A drug on January 25.

Graham Heath, prosecuting, told the court that the 48-year-old, from Portsmouth, was stopped by police who saw him drive through two sets of red lights.

The officers searched him and found the "small amount" of the drug and a breath test showed he had 67 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - almost double the limit of 35mcg.

File image.

Mr Heath said: "He said that he had consumed three bottles of wine and had gone out and bought half a gram of cocaine and had paid £200 (€226.65) for that. It is unclear if any had been taken."

Gilmour, who has been suspended from his job, told the magistrates that he had struggled with a drink problem and the stresses of his work.

He said: "The last couple of years have been incredibly difficult for me. As well as constant political and financial changes that all schools face, I have had to face further unique challenges as a headteacher."

He described how he had lost a "long-serving colleague" to cancer but had to "argue about closing the school to allow staff to attend the funeral".

He added that, after disappointing school results and an Ofsted inspection, he was placed in "pre-capability support" and, despite reaching his targets, this was extended.

Gilmour said he had a "quarter of teachers away on long-term sick leave" and added: "That is what the life of a headteacher has become: it is what I signed up for."

He continued to describe his personal problems, including being on medication for depression for five years and drinking in a bid to cope.

Gilmour, who said he was "deeply ashamed of himself" and had sought help, said: "Nevertheless, I spent last term determined to achieve success professionally and personally and by Christmas, I naively thought I had won both battles.

"It turns out these were Pyrrhic victories brought about by the Trojan Horse of alcohol dependency entering my life."

He added: "What I did not realise was that I had developed a craving for alcohol which meant that once I started, I could not stop. One bottle of wine became two and then three.

"I became incapable of rational thought.

"My subsequent actions have destroyed my career and caused perhaps irreparable damage to my marriage."

Gilmour was banned from driving for 18 months, reduced by 18 weeks if he completes a rehabilitation course, and fined £875 (€991.59) and for the drugs offence he was fined a further £875 (€991.59) and ordered to pay £85 (€96.33) court costs and a £85 (€96.33) victim surcharge.

Magistrate Lee Mandiwell told him "We feel for you, sir, but we are here to uphold the law."

- PA

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