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By Steve Robson
PUBLISHED: 20:39 GMT, 4 April 2013
A PCSO who crashed her car after a night drinking wine with friends then lied about the accident has been jailed for eight weeks.
Lauren Dighton-Andrews, 24, had drunk at least two glasses of red wine and taken anti-depressants before getting into her Seat Ibiza in Belvedere in south east London.
Woolwich Crown Court heard she smashed into a parked Mercedes van at around 4.50am but fled the scene and later told police her car had been taken without her knowledge.
Prosecutor Mr. Peter Gray told the court: ‘It was a fairly serious accident in the sense of damage to the vehicles.
‘The impact caused a wheel to collapse and there was also heavy damage to the Seat, which lost its front bumper and the airbag was deployed.’
When Dighton-Andrews was tracked down by police, she claimed she had left it on her driveway after arguing with an unnamed male who had been in her house with a friend.
‘The defendant told the police she had left the vehicle locked on her driveway at 4pm and a friend and two unnamed males remained in her house,’ said prosecutor Peter Gray.
‘She said she had a confrontation with one of them and left the house and car keys on the kitchen table.’
But her story unravelled after officers recovered her DNA on the car’s airbag and text messages she sent to a friend telling her she had been in a crash.
Dighton-Andrews, of Sidmouth Road, Welling pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice after the incident on July 22 last year.
Her defence lawyer Peter Biegel, claimed she fled the house because she was receiving unwanted attention from one of the men.
‘It was a hand on the knee from a frisky male who had been drinking. She did not want to lose consciousness while with a man giving her unwanted attention,’ he said.
‘She knew she had some alcohol and damage that was sufficient to deploy an airbag is pretty significant.
‘It is to her regret that she did not act differently and when the police became involved it was embedded and she could not face up to the situation.’
Sentencing her to eight weeks in prison Recorder Laurie West-Knights said: ‘For five years you were a PCSO and stood as a person in a position of trust and responsibility’
‘You of all people should not have even thought of the commission of an offence of this kind. You accept you had two glasses of wine and your counsel says on top of that you had medication that caused you to panic.’
‘From the outset you gave a wholly false account. This is a very serious criminal offence and except for exceptional circumstances an immediate custodial sentence must follow.’