Uninsured driver tried to swap seats with girlfriend

The Enniskillen Courthouse.gkfh1

The case was heard at Enniskillen Courthouse

A 46-year-old Enniskillen driver caught by police without a licence or insurance tried to avoid detection by switching seats with his girlfriend.

Matthew John Wheeler, of Queen Street Enniskillen was convicted at Fermanagh Magistrates Court along with his partner Rebecca Elizabeth Windyate (55), of Windmill Heights, Enniskillen who permitted him to drive without insurance.


The prosecutor outlined that on May 12, 2014 at 11.30pm police received a complaint about a  vehicle in the Ballaghmore Heights area of Enniskillen.

When police arrived in the area they saw a Citroen C3 on the Coleshill Road go past them being driven by the defendant.

They followed the vehicle up into Windmill Heights before losing sight of it for a moment.
Police then saw a female running from the passenger side into the driver’s side.
The male driver was now in the passenger seat.

When stopped police spoke to Wheeler and Windyate in the vehicle.
Wheeler told them he did not have a driving licence and was cautioned for driving without a licence or insurance.

During interview he denied driving the vehicle.

Windyate, the owner of the vehicle, also denied allowing the co-accused to drive.

Defence barrister Heather Philips explained that the two defendants were partners and had been out to recover some equipment at an address unknown to them.


She told the court Windyate had been driving the vehicle but had become dizzy and unable to continue. Wheeler had then taken over in the estate driving around.

The defence told the court Windyate was bi-polar and had other ailments and this was why Wheeler had been forced to drive. Ms Philips said that the female defendant had been driving for 15 years and no record.

District judge Nigel Broderick noted this was the seventh time Wheeler had appeared in court for such matters and said he had a ‘very poor record for no insurance’.

The district judge acknowledged Windyate’s clear record and her guilty plea, albeit at a late stage. He imposed £300 and eight penalty points.

In relation to Wheeler the judge took into account his poor record for no insurance, but despite the fact his last conviction was over eight years ago said there must still be a disqualification.

Mr Broderick imposed a three month custodial sentence, suspended for two years and issued a fine of £100. Wheeler was also disqualified from driving for a period of six months.

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