Cardiff Magistrates' Court. Credit: Alfie Reynolds

Nurse over the drink-drive limit on the way back from her patient’s funeral, court told

The well-respected nurse had a collision in her car after ‘grave error of judgement’

A NURSE was on her way back home from a patient’s funeral when she made the “grave error of judgement” of drink-driving, a court heard.

Charlotte Torres, 61, was driving back home to Ystradowen, near Cowbridge, at 8.50pm on January 4 this year after attending the funeral.

The collision took place in Cowbridge, Cardiff Magistrates’ Court was told.

“She had no intention of driving but took the foolish decision to make this grave error of judgement after a night of distress,” said her defence lawyer Mr John Wilkins.

He read several character references to the court. One, from the son of the patient whose funeral she was attending, said: “Charlotte gave my father an extra 10 years of life.”

Torres’ Honda Jazz collided with the complainant’s car and left scratches on the bumper, Mr Wilkins added.

The court heard that the complainant called the police after she suspected Torres was drunk.

Police were called to the scene and breathalysed Torres, said prosecutor Lucy Mansfield. She was found with 83 micrograms of alcohol in her breath. The legal limit is 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath.

Torres, of The Larches, Ystradowen, was arrested. She pleaded guilty to one charge of drink-driving.

In a further character reference read to the court, staff at her GP practice, Wilkins Western Vale, in Cowbridge, said that Torres was a valued member of the community.

“Charlotte Torres’ work was pivotal in the pandemic,” said a partner at the practice.

“She dedicated her whole life to the NHS,” added a colleague of Torres.

Mr Wilkins added: “I hope you might be persuaded that a band D financial penalty may be appropriate instead of community order due to her good nature.”

Magistrate Mr David Ford said he would take into consideration Torres’ early guilty plea and the fact she has no previous convictions.

Torres self-reported voluntarily to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) after her arrest, the court heard.

Mr Wilkins added: “Charlotte’s career and reputation will be impacted by this mistake.

“A pillar of her community, her employers are keen to keep her on, but the NMC will decide her fate.”

Magistrate Mr Ford ordered her to pay £952 to the court. Torres will have to undertake a drink-driving course at her local centre. She is disqualified from driving for 20 months but if she completes this course by March 2024, her disqualification ends on May 2, 2024.