Ex-Lord Mayor caught drink-driving by ex-charges

Sir Francis McWilliams: guilty. Picture: Pamela Grigg
Sir Francis McWilliams: guilty. Picture: Pamela Grigg
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Edinburgh-born former Lord Mayor of London Sir Francis McWilliams was caught drink-driving as officers from the police force of which he was once in charge stopped his Jaguar in the early hours near the Bank of England.

Retired civil engineer Sir Francis, 89, claims he enjoyed some wine during a family dinner in the Square Mile and when officers stopped him at 2.30am his “eyes were glazed” and “his speech was slurred”, City of London Magistrates Court heard.

Sir Francis, of Whittingehame House, Stenton, East Lothian, pleaded guilty to driving his blue 2.7 litre Jaguar XF with excess alcohol in Threadneedle Street on March 15.

The court was told City of London police on patrol pulled him over and Sir Francis, who was appointed to the role in 1992, failed a roadside breath-test after alcohol was smelled on him and he was arrested.

He later gave a reading of 42 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit in England and Wales is 35.

“Mr McWilliams attended a family dinner and came down from Scotland,” said Andrew Birkham, defending. “He had some wine and did not feel impaired in the slightest. That was an unfortunate error of judgement and brings him to court. Something he regrets.”

Sir Francis was fined £500, with £85 costs, ordered to pay a £50 victim surcharge and was disqualified for 12 months.