'Appalling': Porirua man Gavin Hawthorn escapes jail after 12th drink-driving conviction

Gavin Hawthorn.
Gavin Hawthorn. Photo credit: Newshub.

A notorious drink-driver responsible for four deaths has been spared jail after his 12th drink-driving conviction.

Gavin Hawthorn, 56, was sentenced to six months' home detention, 180 hours' community service and disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence for two years.

Judge James Johnston, at Porirua District Court, said Hawthorn escaped a jail term by the "slimmest of margins".

Hawthorn was convicted of driving with excess breath alcohol at 444 micrograms per litre of breath, after being pulled over for a random breath test in Paraparaumu in June.

Hawthorn has more than 60 convictions, which also include for burglary, assault, disorderly behaviour and possession of cannabis.

Judge Johnston described Hawthorn's drink driving as "appalling".

In 2004, he was jailed for 10 years for the manslaughter of his friend Lance Fryer, who was killed in a high-speed crash in the Wairarapa.

Hawthorn previously killed two passengers in 1989 when his car crossed the centre line while drink-driving. A third passenger involved died just over a year later.

Hawthorn's offending dates back to 1979, and he has been to prison eight times. Hawthorn was released from jail in 2013.