THE former executive director of an energy firm was found by police to be driving her Audi Q7 at almost three times the limit.

A member of public raised the alarm after spotting Michaela Harrison-Fox, 49, narrowly avoiding colliding with vehicles belonging to construction workers in Morrison’s car park, at Morton Park, in Darlington.

The report was made at 3.20pm, on June 17, and twenty minutes later she was stopped by police as she attempted to pull out of a space.

Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court yesterday heard officers said she was “quite clearly intoxicated”.

Mike Wallbank, prosecuting, said she was arrested and taken to the police station where she was found to have 230 microgrammes of alcohol in one litre of blood - the legal limit being 80.

The defendant, of Blind, Lane, Hurworth, initially denied one charge of driving over the legal alcohol limit but pleaded guilty ahead of a trial on Friday.

A probation officer said she had not intended to drive the vehicle out the car park but was planning on sleeping in her car overnight in another space as she had been “thrown out” her family home.

Chris Marley, mitigating, said his client had recently had a marriage breakdown and suffered ill-health. The court also heard she was being supported by a range of services.

Harrison-Fox, who co-founded an energy company with her husband which was sold two years ago, was fined £400, was banned from driving for two years and must pay £560 court fees and a £40 victim surcharge.