Sussex Police may appeal after Brighton-born former model Katie Price was spared an immediate prison sentence for drink driving while banned.
A senior officer, Superintendent James Collis, formerly based in Brighton, said: “Price is extremely lucky not to be spending Christmas behind bars.”
Superintendent Collis, the head of roads policing across Sussex and Surrey, said that an appeal could be lodged against the sentence on the ground that it was unduly lenient.
Last night (Wednesday 15 December) he said: “Today’s sentencing, as the judge explained, could have and should have been much worse and, in our view, Price is extremely lucky not to be spending Christmas behind bars.
“Given the circumstances and her history of motoring offences, it’s clear she did not consider the risk of her actions to the wider public or the implications for her own family.
“We are now exploring whether we can appeal against this sentence.”
District Judge Amanda Kelly sentenced 43-year-old Price to 16 weeks in prison, suspended for a year, and imposed another driving ban – for two years.
She ordered Price to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work, attend 20 rehabilitation sessions and pay costs of £213. She already owes the court £7,358.
At a previous hearing, she said, Price was given a “legitimate expectation” that she would be spared prison if she went to the Priory for treatment and did not commit further offences.
District Judge Kelly said: “You appear to think that you are above the law.
“You have one of the worst driving records I have seen. You have been banned from driving on five occasions.
“The public may be appalled to hear that I can’t send you to jail today.
“But the law says that … you have a legitimate expectation not to be sent to prison today, even though you deserve to spend Christmas behind bars.”
Price pleaded guilty at Crawley Magistrates’ Court to driving while disqualified, driving without insurance and driving while unfit through drink.
She crashed her BMW on the B2135, near the West Sussex village of West Grinstead, at about 6.20am on Tuesday 28 September. She was breathalysed and found to be almost twice the drink driving limit.
Debbie Jones, prosecuting, said that Price, also known as Jordan, had 66 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 micrograms.
The court was told that Price, of Worthing Road, Dial Post, Horsham, was arrested at the scene and taken to hospital.
Once there, she refused to have a blood test because, she said, she had a fear of needles, but she told police: “I had alcohol. I took drugs. I should not be driving. I admit it all.”
The court was also told that a drugs wipe gave a positive reading for cocaine although she was not convicted of drug driving.
Sussex Police shared a picture of the crash scene, showing her flipped car on its side.
Joe Harrington, defending, said: “This is a lady with an awful lot of things going on.”
He said that she had five children – and “she is also in the bankruptcy court”.
Mr Harrington said: “It’s a complicated driving history. Things tend to be quite complicated with this lady. She does not deal with her problems, particularly with paperwork.”
Price admitted the offences when she appeared before Crawley magistrates on Wednesday 29 September.
District Judge Kelly said yesterday: “When you chose to get behind the wheel that night you showed no concern for others.
“You could have killed somebody. Your actions meant the emergency services had to use up their precious time.
“You knowingly and deliberately flouted a court order and not for the first time. You seem to think you are above the law.”