Jacob Wragg's mum has spoken out about her distress at being convicted of drink-driving just as she was starting to rebuild her life.

Mary Richards spoke exclusively to The Argus about the offence after her court appearance yesterday.

And she told of the pain and sorrow she has endured since her son was killed by her husband Andrew in 2004.

Mrs Richards, 43, who has reverted to her maiden name to protect her youngest son from the glare of the highprofile case, said the past three years had been an "absolute nightmare".

Worthing Magistrates' Court banned her from driving for 20 months for being more than twice over the drink-drive limit.

Her lawyer argued her wine glass was topped up by someone else shortly before she was caught by police on November 12 last year.

The court was told Mrs Richards was spotted driving her white Audi in a "hesitant manner" in Goring as she headed home after picking up her nine-year-old son George from his grandparents Bob and Anne Wragg, of Chilgrove Close.

The couple, who have been estranged from their daughterin- law since Jacob's death, are locked in a High Court battle with her over access to George.

They are allowed to see their grandson once a month.

His father has no access to him at all.

Mrs Richards still lives at the home in Henty Close, Worthing, where her former husband smothered ten-year-old Jacob with a pillow.

She admitted driving with excess alcohol.

Philip Norton, defending, handed magistrates Mrs Richards' unblemished driving licence featuring her previous surname of Wragg, which he said would be familiar to the bench.

Making reference to Andrew Wragg's trial in 2005, Mr Norton said: "Since that time, she has been engaged in High Court proceedings in relation to the grandparents concerning access to George.

"On this particular day, George was having contact with the grandparents and Mrs Richards went to the grandparents to collect George so it was a very stressful day.

"While at the house, she had some red wine. The glass was topped up and then she left and was stopped by police. She has accepted that she was over the limit."

Mrs Richards said after the hearing she did not realise her glass had been topped up.

She said: "It was the first time I had been there since my son had been killed.

"They handed me this fairly big glass of red wine. I hadn't had anything to eat."

Andrew Walker, prosecuting, told the court a member of the public followed Mrs Richards' car before police arrived on the scene. He said: "They took a roadside breath test, which was positive.

She was arrested and taken to the police station and gave two further positive breath tests."

The lowest reading revealed 85mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mg.

Mr Norton said Mrs Richards was not working and was on long-term incapacity benefit.

Presiding magistrate Graham Toole-Mackson disqualified her from driving for 20 months, fined her £250 and ordered her to pay £43 costs.

She could get her ban cut by five months if she passed a Drivewise course by April 13 next year, Mr Toole-Mackson said.

In 2005, Andrew Wragg admitted manslaughter and was given a two-year suspended jail sentence after arguing Jacob had little quality of life because he suffered from Hunter Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that left him unable to communicate or respond.

A jury at Lewes Crown Court cleared the former SAS soldier of murder after hearing him claim the pressure of looking after Jacob, his failing marriage and the horrors he witnessed in Iraq led him to a state of mind in which he believed his son had "come to the end of the road".

But yesterday Mrs Richards, fighting back tears, said her son was an "absolute joy, so special so lovely and so cute" and nothing like the "zombie" he was portrayed as in court.

She said: "He was an absolute delight. It was a privilege to be able to care for him.

"He (Andrew Wragg) took Jacob's life and took Jacob away from me. There was ten years of mostly joy, some pain, lots of fear and lots of other things that made Jacob so unique.

"I adore George but because Jacob needed me so much, the love I had for him was incredible.

To hear it played out so coldly in court absolutely broke my heart."

Mrs Richards wanted to play a video of Jacob to the jurors to show how lively he was but the court ruled it too emotive.

She said: "A lot of people are scared of children with disabilities.

I think the jury were swayed by that. Jacob had a good quality of life and he deserved the extra that God or whoever you believe in should have given him. Nobody had the right to take away his last couple of years."

Weeping, she added: "I never really got the chance to say how lucky I was to be Jacob's mum, despite all the difficulties.

"I'd love to have him here.

"I'd give anything to see him skipping through here and asking for a peanut butter sandwich."

The last time Mrs Richards spoke to her husband was a couple of weeks after Jacob's death.

She said he had been a "lousy" husband and father.

She said: "Over the years of our relationship he had become more volatile, with various incidents.

He was a very temporary fixture in both the boys' lives.

"In court he played so much on this disability thing and how difficult it is to care.

"In actual fact he was barely present. He was absent for five years. He fathered another child with somebody else.

"He claims to be desperately wanting to see George. He's not paid a penny towards his upkeep."

Andrew Wragg will never be allowed to see George unsupervised.

Mrs Richards said: "George has been very reluctant to see him. He is very angry and confused about his father."

Mrs Richards, who does not work due to kidney disease, is hoping to move out of the area.

The Argus does not pay interviewees for stories but Mrs Richards requested a donation be made to Chestnut Tree House Hospice in Poling, near Arundel, which cared for Jacob and the family.