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BBC News' John McIntyre
"Judge was persuaded that there were special circumstances"
 real 28k

Thursday, 16 December, 1999, 19:39 GMT
Beckham wins driving ban appeal

David Beckham David Beckham: feared serious accident

Footballer David Beckham has won his appeal against an eight-month driving ban.

The Manchester United and England midfielder challenged the sentence after he was convicted of driving his 150,000 Ferrari at 76mph in a 50mph zone.

I thought if I didn't put my foot down it would cause an accident
David Beckham
Beckham said he was trying to escape a paparazzi photographer who had tailed him for 10 miles from his home in Alderley Edge, Cheshire.

Judge Barry Woodward, at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court, returned the 24-year-old star's driving licence, ruling there were "special circumstances" that had caused him to break the speed limit.

But he upheld the footballer's speeding conviction.

Beckham, who already had 10 points on his licence, had been fined 800 and ordered to pay 190 costs in addition to the driving ban.

He was caught speeding on the A34 bypass at Stockport, Greater Manchester.

Beckham's solicitor, Nicholas Freeman, told the court his client admitted speeding but had done so because he was frightened he would be hurt in a serious accident.

The footballer told the court a white car, which he thought was a Ford Fiesta, had followed him for 10 miles from his home and along the A34.

Safety fears

He said he became frightened when the photographer veered into his lane and forced him to swerve on two occasions.

Victoria Beckham Beckham and his wife Posh Spice have been tailed by paparazzi
The millionaire midfielder said: "I thought if I didn't put my foot down it would cause an accident.

"At the time I didn't know what I was doing - I was just trying to get away from his car."

But the judge ruled he had other options to speeding - such as slowing down or changing lane.

Beckham also told the court of two other occasions when he feared for his safety and that of his family.

He referred to an incident outside Harrods in central London on Wednesday when a fan tried to grab his baby son Brooklyn.

He also described how police had given him and his wife Victoria, aka Posh Spice, a police escort last June when they were pursued by paparazzi.

Revoking the driving ban, Judge Woodward said: "We must consider this case for its own particular merits rather than on the person of Mr Beckham himself."

Following the verdict, Mr Freeman said Beckham was " delighted with the result".

The football star was driven away from court.

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See also:
16 Dec 99 |  UK
Posh Spice floors baby-grabbing fan
09 Dec 99 |  UK
Beckham appeals against driving ban
18 Oct 99 |  FA Carling Premiership
Beckham: I'm here to stay
30 Nov 99 |  Football
Man Utd crowned world champions

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