A man with a reputation of being the country's worst repeat drink-driver has been sentenced to home detention for driving with excess breath alcohol.

Gavin Hawthorn, 56, has killed four people in two separate car crashes while driving drunk in 2003 and 1989.

In June this year he was stopped at a police checkpoint in Paraparaumu and was found to be 44 micrograms of alcohol over the legal limit.

Gavin Hawthorn (pictured in 2003) was before the courts for sentencing on drink driving charges again today. Photo / File
Gavin Hawthorn (pictured in 2003) was before the courts for sentencing on drink driving charges again today. Photo / File

He has been sentenced in Porirua District Court today to six months home detention, 180 hours community service and is disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver's license for two years.

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"When first looking at your situation the temptation is to consider, in light of your history, sentencing you to a significant period of imprisonment", Judge James Johnston told Hawthorn.

The charge holds a maximum penalty of two years in prison.

In sentencing, Judge Johnston took into account Hawthorn's breath alcohol level, his innocuous manner of driving before arriving at the checkpoint, his guilty plea and his conviction history.

He said Hawthorn's drink driving history was appalling.

"It is indeed one of the worse I have seen."

In 2003 Hawthorn killed his friend Lance Fryer, 34, in a high-speed crash near Greytown.
The pair were returning from nightclubbing in Wellington.

The car was clocked at 167km/h south of Greytown in the morning, as children were making their way to school.

Later the car slammed into a concrete power pole with such force the pole shattered and snapped off, collapsing onto the road.

In 1989 Hawthorn killed two other people, Peter Gay, 36, and John Kaukau, 32, in a fiery night-time crash.

The vehicle he was driving crossed into the path of an oncoming car driven by Bob Stevens who survived the crash but died 15 months later, soon after undergoing reconstructive surgery.