A DRINK driver who hit a child after pulling on to a grass verge “didn’t seem bothered” according to her distraught father.

Graham McDougall was more than twice the drink drive limit when he mounted the kerb and drove onto the grass in Bellfield Close, Brightlingsea, and hit an eight-year-old girl who was playing football.

The youngster was able to get up and run away from the incident despite being hit by the Renault Koleos and only suffered minor injuries, a court heard.

McDougall was confronted by a witness who told him he had hit the girl. He initially refused to accept it had happened.

The youngster’s worried dad went to the scene and described McDougall as drunk and said he was “relaxing” in the front seat.

In a statement read at Colchester Magistrates’ Court, the father said the 50-year-old did not grasp why he wanted him to apologise for the incident.

He said: “I couldn’t believe he didn’t seem to be bothered he had hit her. It is only luck she didn’t end up under the car and she was only clipped by it.

“I cannot believe somebody could be so irresponsible.”

McDougall, of Red Barn Road, Brightlingsea, was breathalysed and found to have 85mcgs of alcohol per 100mls of breath. The legal limit is 35.

The court heard McDougall had finished his day’s work as a salesman and begun drinking but wanted to move his vehicle so his wife could park in the drive.

He admitted drink driving and driving without due care and attention.

Frank O’Toole, mitigating, said: “He would like to express through me his sincere regret about what has happened.

“The child is extremely fortunate she didn’t receive very serious injuries.

“Unfortunately, this is a gross error of judgment and totally out of kilter with his character.

“He feels thoroughly ashamed of himself for what has happened – he stands in the dock for the first time and hopefully the last time.”

McDougall, who has no previous convictions, was banned from driving for 22 months.

He was also handed a 12-month community order with 120 hours of unpaid work and must pay £175.