Pub chef crashed in his sleep while driving landlady's car

PUBLISHED: 16:06 07 June 2007 | UPDATED: 12:32 04 May 2010

A CHEF at the Fountain pub in Soham took the landlady s car in the middle of the night, and crashed it when he fell asleep at the wheel. Derek Miller used the vehicle because he needed transport to Essex, where he wanted to pay off a debt. He owed money

A CHEF at the Fountain pub in Soham took the landlady's car in the middle of the night, and crashed it when he fell asleep at the wheel.

Derek Miller used the vehicle because he needed transport to Essex, where he wanted to pay off a debt.

"He owed money to someone, and panicked about getting the money there

in time," prosecutor Rachel Robinson told Ely

magistrates.

"He took the keys after midnight, but fell asleep at the wheel. He woke up when his car hit a fence."

Miller, 43, now living in Wigan, admitted the aggravated taking of Zoe Crowther's Ford Ka on April 26.

"Ms Crowther is the licencee of The Fountain pub, she left her keys behind the bar when she went to bed, and left the vehicle outside," said Miss Robinson.

"The following morning she was awoken by the chef, Derek Miller, telling her that something had happened to her car.

"He had taken it to Essex and crashed it on the way back. The police spoke to her, and arrested Miller.

"Essex police confirmed that the car was found in a field off the M11. It had smashed through a fence and was badly damaged. He did not have permission to use the car."

The offence put Miller in breach of a suspended prison sentence imposed by Snaresbrook Crown Court.

The Ely court remitted him for sentence to Cambridge Crown Court, and gave him unconditional bail.

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