A man whose recent life has been blighted by tragedy – including the deaths of his wife, daughter, dad, and mum-in-law – appeared in court after drowning his sorrows.
His lawyer even told magistrates: “I cannot recall a case in all my years at court when a client has been through such trauma in such a short time.”
Former Illuminations project manager John Joyce, 56, was forced to quit his job to care for his wife when she contracted multiple sclerosis (MS), a lifelong condition that attacks the brain and nerves, the court was told.
Defending, Trevor Colebourne added: “Shortly afterwards, his wife’s mother died.
The now 56-year-old during happier times as Lights project manager
“His daughter, aged 33, went for a Covid injection but tragically died from a blood clot.
“A week after that, his father died.
“This all culminated in him being prosecuted for drink-driving and, the day before the first hearing of his case was due, his wife died.”
Joyce, of Beechwood Grove, Bispham, was twice the legal drink-drive limit when he drove to his local Spar shop, the court was told.
John Joyce pictured with his wife Bev in April 2014
He bumped into another vehicle but handed his keys to a shopkeeper and walked home with his dog.
He was traced by police and blew over the limit.
Mr Colebourne said: “I have numerous personal references written about my client and the care he gave to his wife during his illness.”
Joyce, who admitted drink-driving, was banned from driving for 20 months.
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Ian Duncan Smith visited Blackpool Carers Centre with MP for Blackpool North and Fleetwood Paul Maynard. Carer John Joyce (far right) discusses the difficulties of his role with Mr Maynard, the secretary of state and Blackpool Carers fundraiser John Barnett. PIC BY ROB LOCK 15-4-2015
Bench chairman Peter Dalton told him: “What a sad case. It beggars belief, to be honest.”
Joyce was told to pay £239 in fines and costs.
Joyce, who wrote Cookery SOS, was taught to cook by his wife Bev after she was diagnosed with MS – and went on to teach other carers, The Gazette reported in 2016.
The year before, he met with then-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith during a visit to Blackpool Carers Centre with Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard.
He told the politicians of the difficulties of his role.