Page last updated at 15:45 GMT, Monday, 4 January 2010

Chelsea player Ashley Cole guilty of speeding at 104mph

Ashley Cole
Ashley Cole told officers he was driving at 80mph

Chelsea footballer Ashley Cole has been found guilty of driving at 104mph in a 50mph zone in south-west London.

The player, from Godalming, Surrey, was caught speeding in his Lamborghini on the A3 in Kingston just after midday on 17 November 2008.

Cole, who was not present in court, had claimed he was being chased by paparazzi and denied the charge.

Kingston Magistrates' chairwoman Judith Jewell warned he may be banned from driving when sentenced on 29 January.

The court heard that, when stopped, Cole told police he was aware it was a 50mph zone and thought he was driving at 80mph but complained about a photographer following him.

'Unwelcome attention'

His lawyer Katherine Hodson had argued the player had no case to answer and claimed the speed gun might not have been operating properly.

Giving the verdict Ms Jewell said: "We find that we were convinced enough by the evidence given that he was travelling at 104mph.

"Our reasons are that we feel that the evidence of the police officer was credible, and we feel entitled to believe that the equipment was operating properly."

I asked him what speed he was doing and he said '80mph'
Pc John Wills, Surrey Police

Richard Lomax, prosecuting, said: "The defendant was stopped and spoken to and the words he said at the time, when it became plain that somebody was pointing a speed camera at him, were 'Can't you do anything about those idiots who keep chasing me?'."

He added: "It is plain that he found the attention of persons with cameras unwelcome and he was trying to get away from them.

"It cannot be a defence to the offence of speeding that one is trying to get away in the circumstances of members of the press showing excessive attention."

Traffic officer John Wills was on duty on Robin Hood Way and said Cole was aware of the 50mph limit.

"Then I asked him what speed he was doing and he said '80mph'. I pointed out he was doing considerably more than that and showed him the laser device.

"He pointed out that there was a man with a camera some distance further down the road.

"I saw him (the photographer) at that time, but I had no idea when he turned up. He was certainly not in evidence when I first saw the Lamborghini."

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