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Richard Wells reports for BBC News
"He said on 3 occasions the photographer almost collided with him"
 real 28k

Thursday, 9 December, 1999, 19:13 GMT
Beckham appeals against driving ban

David Beckham Beckham said he accelerated to escape a photographer

England and Manchester United star David Beckham is appealing against an eight-month driving ban for speeding in his 150,000 Ferrari.

The footballer, 24, was found guilty of speeding at 76mph in a 50mph limit, despite telling magistrates he was trying to escape a paparazzi photographer who had stalked him for 10 miles.

A spokesman for the millionaire player said: "Although David accepts he was speeding he believes there were mitigating circumstances and he is therefore intending to appeal against this decision."

There's no doubt that if I had stopped he would have gone into the back of me
David Beckham
Beckham's solicitor Nicholas Freeman lodged the appeal at Stockport Magistrates Court.

He asked the court to give the midfielder back his licence until the next hearing, but the request was refused.

Earlier chairman of magistrates, Nigel Flynn, said: "We find there are no special circumstances in this case.

"Our conclusions are that Mr Beckham's responses were unreasonable in the situation he faced.

"We consider that there were other alternative courses of action open to him other than exceeding the speed limit by 26mph."

Speeding 'under duress'

Beckham, who already had 10 points on his licence, was also fined 800 and ordered to pay 190 costs.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charge of speeding in his silver S-reg Ferrari Maranello on the A34 bypass at Stockport, Greater Manchester.

He told the court that he was "petrified" as the photographer drove dangerously close to his car, trying to take a picture, and said he was forced to accelerate to avoid an accident.

Beckham's solicitor Nicholas Freeman argued his client had been speeding "under duress".

Price of fame

Beckham was travelling to a pre-season friendly on the day that he was caught speeding, the court heard.

Beckham and Victoria Adams The celebrity couple have had similar problems before
But as he left his home he noticed a paparazzi photographer in a white Fiesta parked near his driveway, who began to follow him.

He said: "I was uncomfortable because it was at least a car's length away and I thought it was very dangerous, there's no doubt that if I had stopped he would have gone into the back of me."

Beckham and his wife, Spice Girl Victoria Adams, had been subjected to similar treatment before, the court heard.

"Me and Victoria have experienced this before, but only once," said Beckham.

"I decided to get away from him because if not there was going to be a serious accident, if not to me to other people."

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See also:
30 Nov 99 |  Football
Man Utd crowned world champions
18 Oct 99 |  FA Carling Premiership
Beckham: I'm here to stay

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