A drunk dad who crashed his car while trying to take his five-year-old daughter on a trip to the beach at 5am has escaped jail.
Graham Hall, 30, - who had never passed his driving test - was spotted by police officers reversing his car into metal railings in the early hours of March 1.
When they got to the car in South Shields, they found the former soldier intoxicated and his daughter in the front seat of the vehicle, not properly strapped in.
Hall was arrested, and officers discovered he had never passed his driving test and was not insured to get behind the wheel.
A breath test revealed Hall was more than twice the legal driving limit for driving.
He pleaded guilty at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court to being drunk in charge of a child and drink-driving. He also admitted driving without a licence or insurance.
Gerry Tierney, chairman of the bench, said: "This is probably the worst drink-driving case I've seen, and I've been on this bench for 20 years.
"The potential consequences are unthinkable. Hopefully, this will be a lesson to you. The four charges on their own are bad, but together they all aggravate each other.
"If you breach any of the things that are required of you, you are in danger of going to prison."
Hall was spared jail and was instead given a nine-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months and an 18-month driving ban.
Rachel Mangini, defending, told the court that Hall was a former soldier and had done tours of duty in Iraq, Kosovo and Northern Ireland between 2002 and 2006. He is now likely to lose his job as a builder.
She added: "He is a binge-drinker and had been out with friends the night before. When his daughter woke up at 5am, she asked to go to the beach and, for some reason, he did.
"These are extremely unpleasant offences, but he is a family man, with three children to look after, and has served his country. He is also trying to get help for his drinking."