Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Tuesday, October 5, 1999 Published at 21:16 GMT 22:16 UK


Sir Alex cleared of illegal driving

Sir Alex: Diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis

Sir Alex Ferguson has been found not guilty of illegally driving on a motorway hard shoulder after he told a court he was rushing to get to a lavatory.

Magistrates agreed with the Manchester United manager's defence that it was an "emergency," and they cleared the 57-year-old.

Bury Magistrates Court had been told that Sir Alex had been suffering from severe diarrhoea when the incident took place on 26 February on the M602, in Eccles, Greater Manchester.

He said his symptoms had begun at home the previous day. He had been to see the club doctor, Mike Stone, the following morning at Old Trafford, and felt much better after taking Imodium tablets.

Stomach cramps

But on his journey home he was struck by stomach cramps and the urgent need to visit the lavatory.

The M602 at Eccles was congested, he told the court, and to avoid queuing, he drove his BMW onto the hard shoulder.

He was followed by a police vehicle, stopped and cautioned. He told the court that he was too embarrassed to explain his predicament to the police officer.

[ image: Sir Alex was
Sir Alex was "in a rush" to use Old Trafford's facilities
"When I got on the M602 I started to feel the cramps again," Sir Alex told the court.

"When I got into the snarl-up of traffic I took another [Imodium] tablet. I stayed there for about four or five minutes. I then decided to try and get back to Old Trafford."

Nicholas Freeman, defending, said: "Putting it bluntly, did you need to go to the toilet?"

Sir Alex said: "That was very much the case. I had to go somewhere quickly."

After giving his details to the police Sir Alex returned to Old Trafford to use its facilities. "I was in a rush," he told the court.

'Acute gastroenteritis'

In a statement to the court, Dr Stone said: "I saw Sir Alex at 9am on 26 February when he complained of suffering from severe diarrhoea.

"I examined him and diagnosed acute gastroenteritis."

Mr Freeman said his client had had two options while in the traffic jam.

"One is unthinkable and one is to take evasive action," he said.

"It's not easy for someone in his position to come into court and, with respect, explain his toilet difficulties on that day," he added.

Outside court Sir Alex signed autographs for fans before leaving in a chauffeur-driven car without making a comment.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage |

UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Internet Links

Manchester United FC


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online