The day little Daisy Barton was born at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro, turned out to be a day her parents Alice and Ryan will remember for more than one reason.
Her birth followed an emergency dash from St Austell, with a nightmare drive behind the ambulance for Ryan which nearly cost him a prison sentence, escaping it by “the skin of his teeth”.
For Ryan, a disqualified driver, was checked en route by police officers, who discovered he should not have been behind the wheel and seized his car. But hearing why he had been driving, they took pity on him, and drove him to the hospital in a police car, using flashing blues and twos for the journey.
Three months later, baby Daisy is doing well, and has been given a royal commemorative coin because she was born on the same day as Prince George.
Her father was given his liberty.
At Truro Magistrates’ Court, Ryan, age 28, of Dymond Close, Camelford, pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified on July 22 and to using his VW Golf without insurance. This was his fifth disqualification offence, having had four previous convictions dating back to 2002, for which he had served time in prison.
The court heard that because of the ban the Bartons had arranged for someone else to drive them to hospital at St Austell when the baby was due. This person took them to Penrice twice the previous evening, only for Alice to be sent home as it was too soon for her. Then at 8.30 am the following morning the baby began to arrive. Their driver was not available, and three attempts to find a replacement, failed.
Ryan decided it was up to him to drive his wife to Penrice. There she was diagnosed with a problem, an ambulance was called and she was rushed to Treliske.
Because there was no room for Ryan in the ambulance, he drove behind in their car, only to be stopped on the way in the police check.
He told police later: “I was quite panicky…. It is not something I make a habit of…. On that day for me and my family the only thing I could think of was to get down there. I didn’t give it a second thought.”
In court, his solicitor Maurice Champion said he would have been excused in law the illegal journey from home to Penrice because it was an emergency, but the next part from there to Truro left him in trouble because by then the emergency was in the hands of the medical staff.
He said “When the police stopped him he was in such a state they did not arrest him, they impounded the car and excelled themselves by putting him in a police car and taking him to Treliske”.
Referring to Ryan’s previous record, Mr Champion said since then he had dealt with his alcohol problem and done a substantial amount to turn his life around, starting a small scaffolding firm and devoting himself to his wife and two children, Mia, and baby Daisy. “This is probably a one-off blip in his newly-organized life” he said.
Magistrates’ chairman Geoff Pearce told Ryan: “Ordinarily you would have had an immediate custodial sentence, but by the skin of your teeth you have got away with it on the basis we accept it was a medical emergency, but for the first part only, once the medical system had kicked in and your wife was in an ambulance, things were different.”
Barton was given a four month prison sentence suspended for two years and told to do 120 hours of unpaid work. He was given a further driving ban of three years.