A drink-driver got behind the wheel of his car after he mistook his own vomit for blood and feared someone had been murdered.

Darren Wharton, of Newtown Road, Carlisle pleaded guilty to drink-driving his Volkswagen Golf when he appeared at the magistrates’ court in Workington.

The 44-year-old was found to be nearly double the legal limit, with 154mg of alcohol in 100ml of his blood.

He drove after drinking with colleagues in Workington on December 9, a district judge heard.

Diane Jackson, prosecuting, told the court: “The defendant was staying at the Washington Central Hotel following a work night out.

“He believed he saw blood all over the bed.”

The court heard that Wharton then left his hotel room, became ‘agitated’ and decided he needed to get away from the hotel.

“He believed he’d witnessed a murder,” Ms Jackson added.

Wharton climbed into his car and drove a short distance away from the hotel. It was then that he decided to call the police, the prosecutor said.

When they arrived he urged them to check the room he had been staying in.

Jackson said: “They discovered that what he believed to be blood was his vomit, which was red.

“He said to the officer: ‘What an idiot, I’ll lose my job for this’.

“When he was interviewed, he said he’d had several pints of lager that evening and didn’t remember going to bed.

“He panicked because he believed there was blood everywhere.

“He said he ran out to get away and stupidly got into his car, drove out of the car park through the barrier and got to a roundabout.

“He was very panicked when dealing with the police and thought someone might have been in trouble so that was why he hadn’t blown in the roadside test.”

Chris Toms, defending, asked District Judge Gerald Chalk to take into account that Wharton had believed there was an emergency.

“It was a matter of a panic on his behalf,” Toms said.

“He said he called the police because he thought there was a greater crime going on.

“He thought someone had been hurt in the hotel and was arguing with the police.

“I do ask you to consider in the circumstances that he believed a serious crime had been committed.

“He hadn’t drunk that much.”

Wharton was disqualified from driving for 18 months and fined £500.

He was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £50 victim surcharge.