Britain's "Drunkest Woman" Delights Tabloids

By Jason Gotlieb 08/16/11

Shoplifter's 28-pint-a-day "appetite for alcohol" leaves experts baffled that she's still alive.

Appetite for destruction Photo via

The title of Britain's Biggest Boozer takes some winning in a nation well-known for its love-affair with the bottle. But beer-swilling Dawn Marsden has become tabloid-fodder for her sterling efforts. The 31-year-old mother from northern England "spends all day drinking cheap lager at home," but sidelines as a persistent shoplifter on her rare forays into the outside world. She admitted last week to stealing ten packs of bacon in order to sell them at £1 each to support her alcohol habit. The befuddled Brit, who "should be dead," according to experts cited by The Sun, downs enough booze in a single day—up to 28 pints of beer—to hit the UK government's recommended limit for women for an entire month. "You may have noticed my client has a drink problem," defense counsel John Relton deadpanned to a court in Hartlepool—a town that has recently tried to fight alcohol sales to under-18s with an innovative system of placing stickers on drinks in liquor stores. He continued, "She tells me on occasion she will drink up to 16 liters a day. She has a longstanding appetite for alcohol. It is something she is seeking advice upon and getting help." Marsden was so drunk during her hearing that she had to ask reporters afterwards to confirm her sentence—after somehow pleading guilty, she received a six-month conditional discharge, which she promptly denounced as a "sham." Her two-year-old daughter had already been taken into foster care. British addiction counselor Dr. Robert Lefever warned that Marsden is at risk of dying from withdrawal if she stops too suddenly: "The reason she isn't [dead] is that she has trained her body by drinking every day." The inebriated bacon-thief has looked to the future and declared on Sunday, "I'm going to detox next month."

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix
Jason Gotlieb.jpg

Jason Gotlieb is a programmer, software developer, and writer living in New York. You can find him on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.