A woman who was dragged unconscious from a burning car has been disqualified from driving for 18 months.

Nichola Leonard (28) with an address of Bonds Hill, Londonderry was found guilty of failing to provide a specimen of blood after she was discovered in the burning car at Windmill Heights on February 7, 2019.

The court heard that at around 12am on the night in question, police officers were tasked to respond to a car on fire.

On arrival they saw a Peugeot on the side of the road and a male getting out of the car with a female unconscious in the passenger seat.

Officers dragged the female identified as Leonard from the car and put her in the recovery position until the ambulance arrived.

The officers spoke to the male who said the car just went on fire and it was later discovered that the fire was caused due to an electrical fault. It was discovered that the car belonged to Leonard who was taken to hospital and blood samples were taken while she was unconscious. When the defendant regained consciousness she was asked to give her permission for the samples to be analysed to which she refused.

Defending barrister, Alan Blackburn told the court that his client had pleaded guilty without equivocation.

He said at the time, Leonard was going through a difficult period in her life.

Her brother had died and she was unable to attend the funeral as she was in custody.

He pointed out that Leonard had been disqualified from driving for 15 months in Lisburn in September for having no insurance and added Leonard had turned a corner, was off drugs and looked in considerably better condition.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said it was always an aggravating feature to not have a sample analysed but he gave the 28 year old credit for the guilty plea at the first opportunity.

He added that it was a serious matter to be dragged from a burning car and it could have had a much more different outcome.

Leonard was disqualified from driving for 18 months and ordered to pay a £150 fine.