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Last Updated: Monday, 20 August 2007, 14:00 GMT 15:00 UK
Jailed footballer Hughes released
Lee Hughes
Lee Hughes was jailed in 2004
Footballer Lee Hughes has been released from prison after serving three years for causing death by dangerous driving, the prison service has confirmed.

The 31-year-old was jailed in August 2004 for causing the death of Douglas Graham in Meriden, near Coventry.

The former West Brom, Coventry City and Kidderminster Harriers player has agreed a deal with Oldham Athletic.

Oldham director Barry Owen called on fans to go easy on Hughes when he resumes his career.

He said: "There are certain family priorities initially, and he's got to get used to being out of prison.

In my eyes he was sentenced to six years and that's what he should have served
Crash victim Albert Frisby

"We anticipate his fitness will be assessed by the club when he arrives, and it will be then up to the management to decide on a plan of attack.

"Any signing in football is a gamble. I'm not prepared to think about the moral aspects, I think he's entitled to pick up his job.

"I don't think Lee Hughes will have it easy. Fans will remind him of the past when he's playing football.

"But one would expect them to conduct themselves in a football ground as they would do in the street."

Hughes, who was half way through a six-year sentence, was released from Featherstone Prison, near Wolverhampton.

Fled crash scene

His trial at Coventry Crown Court was told how he crashed his 100,000 Mercedes sports car into Mr Graham's vehicle while driving home after a post-match drink.

He fled the scene of the crash on foot to avoid a breath test and did not turn himself into police for 36 hours.

Father-of-four Mr Graham was a passenger in a Renault Megane when it was struck by Hughes' car at the junction between the A45 Birmingham Road and Pickford Grange Lane in Meriden.

Mr Graham died later from his injuries, while his wife suffered a broken leg.

The driver of the car, Albert Frisby, 62, spent five months in hospital and still has trouble walking.

Role model call

He said: "In my eyes he was sentenced to six years and that's what he should have served.

"As far as I am concerned he... could have killed me, after all he left me for dead.

"The arrogance he displayed in court says to me that he'll do it again. What makes it worse is that he's out of prison now to start his life over again playing football in the first division, whereas our lives have been destroyed.

"I have yet to receive any compensation for what has happened."

Cynthia Barlow, of the charity Roadpeace, said Hughes should set an example to young men by fronting a safer driving campaign.

She said: "It would be worth his while in the long term that he should show his remorse in practical terms in terms of influencing young people not to commit road crime.

"We can stop this scourge and he can have a key role in influencing these young men in this way."


SEE ALSO
Imprisoned Hughes set for Oldham
30 May 07 |  Oldham Athletic
Ex-player banned from prison team
14 Mar 05 |  West Midlands
Hughes contract cancelled
09 Aug 04 |  West Bromwich Albion
Hughes' dream career ends in nightmare
09 Aug 04 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
Hughes jailed after death crash
09 Aug 04 |  Coventry/Warwickshire
Player 'regrets' fleeing scene
05 Aug 04 |  West Midlands
Hughes 'drove like madman' claim
03 Aug 04 |  West Midlands

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