Louise finds hope following arrest

Louise embraced what probation had to offer and believes she has benefitted as a result, following pleading guilty to drink driving.

The mum-of-one was arrested and found to be three times over the limit.

She was sentenced to an 18-month Community Order and is supervised by the Cheshire & Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company’s probation case manager Jane McCaskill, at Runcorn probation.

Louise has had a long battle with alcoholism but had been abstinent until a relapse. On the night she was arrested she was drinking heavily, then received a call from a friend who asked for help. When police arrested her, she was three times over the limit.

Louise, from Lymm, said: “Lots of things were going wrong in my life, it’d been a terrible day, and I made a massive mistake.

“I was scared to death spending the night in a police cell, then about the court case and starting probation. I felt I needed mental support to get through it.

“Dealing with the fact that I’m now considered a criminal is really tough.”

Louise developed an alcohol problem while at a demanding accountancy job when her first husband died. Friends repeatedly asked her out for drinks, which gradually became a habit, and this was compounded by relocating with a second husband to a remote mountainous region of north America where the family bred horses and dogs.

She said: “I thought I’d got it under control. But alcohol is pernicious and so readily available.”

Louise, who had a successful IT job with a top accountancy firm, has again quit the bottle and feels probation’s support has helped her rebuild her life.

She said: “Jane’s supported me through absolutely everything and that has helped me rebuild my confidence, which had been shattered.

“I’ve done everything she’s asked me to do. I’ve attended every group and done everything I can so that I can put my mistake right.

“I know Jane is there for me. I have her number and just knowing I can call if I feel down has been a tremendous help.”

Louise, who completed CGM CRC’s course specifically for women offenders – WISER – is hoping to become a peer mentor with the organisation.

Jane said: “Louise was really struggling during her first three months on probation when she was often in floods of tears, so the progress she has made is remarkable and I am proud of her.

“I think sometimes as professionals it’s easy to concentrate on the process rather than the pastoral element. I’ve spent a lot of time with Louise, we’ve spoken regularly, we’ve built trust and that has in turn helped her improve her confidence.

“Sometimes simple things like that can have incredible results and I am absolutely delighted that Louise is now in a position whereby she can offer support to others via a peer mentoring role – a role that she would excel at.”

Louise added: “If you don’t get support from people, I think it’s impossible to move on. My advice to anyone starting probation is to embrace it. Embrace the support that is on offer and engage with the services.”