Wedding postponed as groom ended up in police cell

In the courts
In the courts

Choosing to have his stag night the day before his wedding was a huge mistake for Douglas Woodbridge.

The bridegroom could not make it to the wedding because he was in police cells accused of driving his car at a police officer and driving while drunk.

A court heard the wedding had to be put back a week, and now 36-year-old Woodbridge is at risk of being sent to jail, having been found guilty of dangerous driving.

Woodbridge, of Hockliffe Road, Leighton Buzzard had pleaded not guilty to the charge at Luton Crown Court but admitted driving with excess alcohol and failing to stop for a police officer.

Judge Philip Bartle QC remanded him on bail for reports to be prepared but told him: “Your driving that evening was appalling and you should be under no illusion that you may be given an immediate sentence of imprisonment.”

He will be sentenced later in May.

During the five-day trial the jury heard how he went out for drinks with some friends and relatives on October 10 last year. He was due to marry fiancée Kelly the following afternoon. She had driven him to the Clay Pipe pub in Appenine Way, Leighton Buzzard and after three pints and a couple of shots, they decided to move on.

His fiancée drove them into town about 9pm, but he only drank one more pint in the following three hours, he said.

But prosecutor Robin Miric said when the defendant called his fiancée to pick him up after midnight there was confusion about where he would be. When they did meet up the jury heard differing accounts of what happened next.

The prosecution alleged he was angry with her, and one of two men who saw what was happening was afraid for her safety and intervened.

Then Woodbridge did a badly executed three-point turn almost knocking one of the men over and drove off.

Police had been called and saw him travelling at excess speed and weaving across the road. When an officer attempted to stop him he accelerated towards him and the officer had to jump out of the way.

He was eventually stopped and a breath test showed he was one-and-a-half times over the legal alcohol limit. He was taken to Luton police station in a police van and had to be restrained when officers tried to search him.

He was kept in custody overnight and interviewed on the day he should have been getting married.

Woodbridge told the jury he had never intended to drive that night, but when his fiancée arrived he thought she was more drunk than him.

He moved the car because it had been left in a precarious position and claimed he was then assaulted by one of the men. He then drove off again trying to find his fiancée who had wandered off, but denied his driving was dangerous or that he had aimed the car at a police officer.

He later told them he had been concerned for his fiancée, adding: “It was not my best driving but I was in perfect control.”