A soldier has been demoted after being convicted of driving while nearly three times over the legal alcohol limit, banned and ordered to carry out community work.

Patrick Mwambila, 30, a lance corporal based at Hullavington, was stripped of his rank after pleading guilty at North West Wiltshire Magistrates’ Court in Chippenham on Thursday to a drink-driving charge.

He has served his country in war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan.

On May 5, Mwambila, of Melsome Road, Lyneham, had argued with his wife Sarah and gone round to a friend’s house, where he had drunk five to six bottles of Budweiser before getting back in his car to return home.

On the way he hit a parked car on Slessor Road and his own car ended up on its side.

He managed to get out of the car uninjured but when police breathalysed him he was found to have 100mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath compared to the legal limit of 35mcg.

John Mannion, defending, said: “He had had an unfortunate falling out with his wife. He left home to give both parties some space.

"He had the drinks over an eight-hour period, then felt it was best, now things had calmed down, he felt he belonged at home. He made a misjudgement.

“He has served his country for eight years.

“He is very sorry for what happened but also very grateful that no one was injured.”

Mwambila, who was said to have an exemplary army record, will now face disciplinary procedures and will be demoted to the rank of private.

Mwambila has been disqualified from driving for 18 months, and Mr Mannion said driving was an important part of his duties in the Royal Logistic Corps.

“He is the only breadwinner and Sarah will give birth in three months. He will get between £200 and £250 a month less when demoted. They are going to suffer from his huge mistake,” he said.

Mwambila was sentenced to a 12-month community order with supervision and 60 hours unpaid work and must pay £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

Mwambila’s wife and a lieutenant were in court to support him.