Night off the wagon ends in jail

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 11/01/2014

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A New Plymouth conman and repeat drink-driver has been given his 99th prison term after driving home a woman he met in a pub.

Ian Arthur Lehndorf, 62, admitted drink driving and disqualified driving at Bell Block on August 24.

Lehndorf had accumulated 98 previous jail sentences - most involving multiple convictions for frauds - coupled with a raft of disqualified driving and drink-driving offences. He was also on a final warning.

"You of all people should know the consequences of apprehension," Judge Allan Roberts told Lehndorf when sentencing him in the New Plymouth District Court yesterday.

Lehndorf's lawyer, Jo Woodcock, said her client had been dry for eight years, but succumbed one night at Shifty's Bar in Bell Block.

He struck up a rapport with a woman, who invited him home. He made the wrong decision to drive.

There was no suggestion of bad driving on the night, Ms Woodcock said. Lehndorf realised he was headed to jail.

Judge Roberts said Lehndorf blew 797 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath when tested in Nugent St, Bell Block. He was also driving while banned.

He now had nine convictions for drink driving, the first of which was in 1983, and a total of 16 convictions for contravening driving-related court orders.

It was his fourth conviction for driving while disqualified at the same time as drink-driving. He claimed to be abstinent for eight years.

The judge said his starting point was 12 months' jail, elevated by eight months for Lehndorf's "shocking history of like offending", and a four-month concession for his late guilty plea, leaving him with a 16-month jail sentence.

He was disqualified from driving for 12 months.

Carrying his packed bag, Lehndorf said a cheery "thank you" to the judge as he headed to jail.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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