Page last updated at 11:09 GMT, Tuesday, 10 June 2008 12:09 UK

Driving ban for 100mph footballer

Steve Claridge
Steve Claridge had previously denied the charge

Former Premier League footballer and BBC pundit Steve Claridge has been given a suspended jail term and banned from driving after speeding at 100mph.

Claridge, 42, was convicted last month of dangerous driving after speeding in "treacherous" conditions on the M42 near Solihull, West Midlands, in 2006.

His six-month jail sentence was suspended for two years and he was banned from driving for 12 months.

Claridge, of Fareham, Hants, was also told to do 150 hours community work.

In May, Claridge told Coventry Crown Court he reached just above 70mph as he tried to exit the M42 to find a toilet, and denied it had been raining at the time.

The court heard how the ex-footballer had been convicted seven times of speeding in the past.

On two occasions he had refused to give his name.

'Like a child'

In December, the former Leicester City striker was pulled over by an unmarked police car on the southbound carriageway between junctions 4 and 3.

Police officers told his trial how he "started jumping up and down on the hard shoulder, holding his crotch and acting like a child who is desperate to go to the toilet".

The former footballer told the court he was driving home in his silver Peugeot 307 from Blackpool where he had been compiling a scouting report.

He admitted undertaking two cars but denied driving dangerously.

Following the verdict, the court heard that Claridge, who now works as a football pundit on BBC Five Live, already had nine points on his driving licence.

Watch how you drive when you are able to do so again
Judge Peter Carr

During his football career in the late-1980s and early-1990s, he also played for Portsmouth and Birmingham City as well as several other professional clubs.

Stephen Nelson, defending, told the judge how Claridge had been unable to carry out various work commitments for the BBC because of his interim driving ban.

Judge Peter Carr told Claridge he had taken into account his charitable appearances and character references when sentencing him.

He also referred to a pre-sentence report which said the former footballer had dealt with "a number of problems" in the past.

Judge Carr added that if Claridge was to commit further offences he was likely to face a much harsher sentence.

The judge said: "You are free to go. Watch how you drive when you are able to do so again."

Claridge was also ordered to pay costs of 1,645 and told he must take an extended driving test before getting behind the wheel again.

Outside court, he said: "I'm pleased with the way things have worked out."

He added he hoped the conviction would not affect his work as a pundit.




SEE ALSO
Footballer guilty of M-way charge
13 May 08 |  West Midlands
Footballer 'needed loo on M-way'
12 May 08 |  West Midlands

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