Mother, 39, drives away from court MINUTES after judge banned her from the roads for two years

4 weeks ago 3

A woman was today pictured driving away from court just minutes after a judge banned her from the road for two years.

Simara Knopka, 39, headed the wrong way down a motorway and collided head-on with another car on May 28 this year. 

She was disqualified from driving at a trial at Manchester Crown Court today but the mother, who has never passed a driving test or held a valid licence in the UK, was pictured behind the wheel as she left court. 

She initially appeared to sit in the passenger seat of the car, before moving over to the driver's seat and pulling out of a car park.

Simara Knopka (pictured leaving court today), 39, headed the wrong way down a motorway and collided head-on with another car on May 28 this year

She was disqualified from driving at a trial at Manchester Crown Court today but the mother, who has never passed a driving test or held a valid licence in the UK, was pictured behind the wheel as she left court

Knopka, from Macclesfield, was spared jail by a judge who said he could 'punish her in the community' instead.

The defendant - who is originally from Brazil and speaks Portuguese - was told multiple times in court she had been banned from driving.

A Portuguese interpreter translated the information for her but the housekeeper appeared to drive while disqualified moments later.

The court was told how she visited a friend and drank two glasses of wine before driving home at around 1.10am on May 28.

She was driving her son's Nissan Micra and only had a provisional UK driving licence.

She initially appeared to sit in the passenger seat of the car, before moving over to the driver's seat and pulling out of a car park

Knopka learnt to drive in Brazil 17 years ago before moving to the UK three-and-a-half years ago.

A judge heard she had been taking driving lessons in the UK but had not passed a test.

On the morning of the incident, she used Google Maps on her phone to direct her home and joined the M60 at junction 15 on the wrong side of the road.

This led to a head on collision with another driver who was leaving the motorway on the exit slip road.

Prosecutor Neil Ronan told the court how the smash caused the other driver's car to flip over onto its roof.

Knopka learnt to drive in Brazil 17 years ago before moving to the UK three-and-a-half years ago. A judge heard she had been taking driving lessons in the UK but had not passed a test

Knopka, from Macclesfield, was spared jail by a judge who said he could 'punish her in the community' instead. The defendant - who is originally from Brazil and speaks Portuguese - was told multiple times in court how she was now banned from driving

'By the time police attended, ambulance crews were present but mercifully, it would be seem that the other driver was relatively unscathed by the incident', Mr Ronan added.

'He said he was driving home from Manchester and took the exit to Bolton and immediately after joining saw the lights of the defendant's Micra coming towards him.

'It was dark but he said the weather conditions were good. This defendant appeared to be straddling the middle of two lanes.

'He saw her too late as he said the road was winding and he was driving around 60 miles per hour. He said the defendant was driving much slower, at around 30 miles per hour.'

The defendant was breathalysed at the scene and blew 26 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - the legal limit is 35.

On the morning of the incident, she used Google Maps on her phone to direct her home and joined the M60 at junction 15 on the wrong side of the road. This led to a head on collision with another driver who was leaving the motorway on the exit slip road

Knopka admitted driving a motor vehicle dangerously and driving a motor vehicle otherwise in accordance with a licence. Pictured, leaving court

The male driver was found to be over the limit after providing a sample of 54 microgrammes in 100 millilitres of breath, though the court heard there was 'not a lot he could have done' to avoid the collision.

Defending, Thomas McKail said his client - who has no previous convictions - was a 'hard-working mother' who had 'made a mistake'.

'It was a mistake to enter the road from that way and she entered the motorway at the wrong place,' he said.

'She is used to driving on the right side of the road in Brazil.'

Knopka admitted driving a motor vehicle dangerously and driving a motor vehicle otherwise in accordance with a licence.

Recorder Nick Clarke QC said he did 'not find it necessary' to send her to prison.

Sentencing, he told her: 'However, it is important that you understand that this was a very dangerous piece of driving.

Defending, Thomas McKail said his client (pictured right) - who has no previous convictions - was a 'hard-working mother' who had 'made a mistake'

'You were driving your Nissan Micra on only a provisional licence. You had learnt to drive in Brazil and all of your experience was driving on the right side of the road.

'You entered onto the wrong side of the carriageway on the M60 when you came off the slip road and you were looking at Google Maps on your phone as you drove.

'The driver was very fortunate to only receive cuts and bruises. 

'Normally, in cases like this with accidents in those circumstances would lead to a custodial sentence but I have heard all about you and how you are a hard-working mother with no previous convictions and I have decided that I can deprive you of your liberty by punishing you in the community.'

Knopka was sentenced to a four-month curfew which prevents her from leaving her home between 8pm and 7am.

She was disqualified from driving for two years and was told she would have to take an extended driving test when she is legally allowed to drive again.

She was also fined a total of £600.

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