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Last Updated: Monday, 2 August, 2004, 18:07 GMT 19:07 UK
Footballer 'avoided breath test'
Lee Hughes
Lee Hughes denies causing death by dangerous driving
West Bromwich Albion striker Lee Hughes was accused in court of fleeing the scene of a fatal car accident to dodge a breath test.

Prosecutor, Melbourne Inman QC, said the footballer had been drinking before he got behind the wheel.

Mr Hughes, 28, was appearing at Coventry Crown Court where he denies causing death by dangerous driving.

He had earlier admitted failing to stop after the crash last November in which a father-of-four died.

Mr Hughes also admitted a second offence of failing to report an accident following the collision.

Had he been drinking? The answer to that is, unquestionably yes, because when interviewed, he said to the police that he had
Prosecutor Melbourne Inman
Douglas Graham, 56, of Eastern Green, Coventry, died after the crash in Meriden, Warwickshire, last November.

All three charges relate to the crash involving Mr Hughes' silver Mercedes CL55 coupe and a Renault Scenic which happened in the early hours of 23 November.

Mr Graham, a rear seat passenger in the Renault, died and his wife Maureen was severely injured.

Opening the case for the prosecution, Melbourne Inman said Mr Hughes ran away from the scene of the crash and only turned up at a police station 36 hours later to tell officers the brakes on his car had locked and it went out of control.

He said: "Had he been drinking? The answer to that is, unquestionably yes, because when interviewed, he said to the police that he had."

'Saw headlights'

The jury heard Mr Hughes had been driving home after visiting two pubs in the area, the Queens Head and Poachers Retreat.

He was accompanied by a friend and three other men he had just met.

Douglas Graham
Douglas Graham died from the injuries he received in the crash
The court heard Mr Hughes told police he drank two Jack Daniels and although friends had bought him another two, he only took a sip of one and did not touch the other.

Mr and Mrs Graham, of Eastern Green, Coventry, had spent the evening at a country and western night at a Meriden community centre and accepted a lift home from Albert Frisby.

Mr Frisby, who spent three months in hospital after the crash and is now confined to a wheelchair, described how he saw Mr Hughes' silver CL500 approaching on the wrong side of the road.

He told the court: "I saw the headlights coming towards me.

"I said to my friend in the front: 'Look at this mad b******, he must be doing 60mph' and the next thing I knew he had got me."

Firefighters had to cut Mr Frisby out of the wreckage.

Front seat passenger, Frank Gosling, escaped from the Renault with bruising.

Mrs Graham, who was in the back passenger seat with her husband and also suffered severe injuries, described a loud bang as the vehicles impacted.

The court heard Hughes allegedly told police in an interview he was doing "no more than 50mph" before the collision because he had glanced at his speedometer.

The case continues.




SEE ALSO:
Player did not stop after crash
02 Aug 04  |  West Midlands


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