A DRINK-driver who crashed her car - with her six-year-old son in the back - has been spared jail.

Paula Fisher insisted she had been suffering from auditory hallucinations at the time of the incident, on December 27, Minshull Street Crown Court heard.

Fisher, 36, crashed her car into a kerb and then, while trying to flee the scene, lashed out at a female police officer, the court was told.

Judge Paul Lawton said she had still made a conscious decision to drive that day.

"You could have fled on foot, you could have have fled in a taxi and even, given the time of year, you could have caught public transport," he told the court.

But Judge Lawton accepted the evidence of an exprerienced psychologist, asked to complete an assessment on Fisher, that she had been suffering from a psychotic episode at the time.

The judge said the defendant had driven away with her six-year-old son in the back of the car when she was approaching three times the legal drink-driving limit.

He told the court that "an accident was inevitable", as well as the risk being to other road users, and she had crashed her car.

Judge Lawton added: "You tried to flee the scene and while you were being apprehended you lashed out and struck a female police officer in the face, hence your conviction for assaulting an emergency worker.

"I was concerned when this case first appeared before the court that the explanation you were giving was that you were suffering from a psychotic episode."

But the judge said he accepted that account, after hearing from a consultant psychologist, was genuine.

He said he also had regard to the fact that she was a single mother-of-two so had kept the driving ban to the minimum he could.

Fisher, of Park Street, Radcliffe, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol and assaulting an emergency worker at previous hearings.

She was given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with 30 rehabilitation activity days to serve with the probation service.

Fisher will also have to undergo substance abuse counselling, as part of the order. She was also banned from driving for 15 months.

Lisa Boocock, prosecuting, said clearly there were concerns, on behalf of the Crown, about the manner of her driving and the danger presented to other drivers.

The court heard, in mitigation, that it was accepted there were aggravating features, regarding the driving.

But Fisher had pleaded guilty to the offences at the earliest opportunity and had shown remorse, the court heard.