Coronation St star Bruce Jones vows to beat bottle

Former Coronation Street star Bruce Jones vowed tonight to beat the bottle and save his marriage.

The actor spoke out after Sandra, his wife of 26 years, was forced to give evidence against him at court.

Jones, who played Les Battersby in the ITV soap for 10 years, was accused of subjecting her to years of drunken abuse.

Today he admitted drunkenly yanking the wheel of their Mercedes M Class car from her hand as she drove along a busy dual carriageway and shouting he would kill them both.

He was banned from driving at Mold Crown Court and bailed to return for sentencing next month after admitting dangerous and drunken driving.

Jones, who was two-and-a-half times the legal limit during the incident last August, issued a statement through his barrister Dominic D'Souza.

Outside court the lawyer said: "Mr Jones accepts for the first time that he has an alcohol problem which he needs to address.

"It is one that has caused him significant problems over the last five or six years and resulted finally in him being in this situation today.

"He very much wants to address this with privacy and get his life together and save a marriage that has lasted over 26 years.

"He is very regretful at having his wife subjected to cross-examination in court and found the whole experience very distressing."

Jones, 57, who appeared in court under his real name of Ian Roy Jones, was almost half way through a trial when the jury were discharged today because of a legal issue.

He had the option of going for a retrial but decided against it - not wanting to force his long suffering wife to give evidence again, his barrister said.

"There are no circumstances in which he would wish her to go through that again," Mr D'Souza said.

So he changed his pleas.

An allegation of assault by grabbing Mrs Jones's arm lies on file.

Mrs Jones was driving their Mercedes along the A55 near Holywell, in Flintshire, North Wales, when drunken Jones became angry.

He yanked the steering wheel up and down but Mrs Jones managed to wrestle it back and stopped the car safely at a nearby pub.

The incident was just one of many that Jones, of Knutsford Road, Alderley Edge, Cheshire, had subjected his wife to over the years.

She realised Jones had an alcohol problem within six months of them living together, she said yesterday.

Jones would get drunk, shout at her, occasionally push or grab her and knock over furniture, she said.

"He's hit me with things and thrown things at me," she said.

Once, his abuse led to their daughter calling police and an ambulance, but Mrs Jones said the physical attacks occurred "very rarely".

The court heard Jones's drinking was why he lost his job on Coronation Street.

That led to financial woes for the family and the couple had to sell their £150,000 yacht and were £100,000 in debt.

The case was adjourned for pre-sentencing reports to an unspecified date in April when Jones, who has a previous drink-driving conviction, will return to Mold Crown Court.

The judge, Recorder Simon Medland, told him: "You have had the great sense to plead guilty to these offences.

"Yesterday I heard clear and compelling evidence you had committed these offences.

"You were very drunk at the time and this was against a background of prolonged arguing and bickering with your wife and on occasion in the past you have assaulted her."

Jones was bailed with conditions that he lives and sleeps at an address given to court, remains there between 9pm and 7am after March 25 and he cannot contact his wife.

* Coronation Street star Ryan Thomas has been charged with failing to stop after crashing his car, it was revealed today.

Thomas, 25, who plays builder Jason Grimshaw in the soap, crashed the vehicle at 4am on October 31 last year.

His Chrysler struck a lamp-post and crash barriers at the junction of Chester Street and Oxford Road in Manchester city centre.

Another man was arrested at the scene and charged with driving under the influence of drink or drugs and having no insurance.

But the charges were later dropped and replaced with the charge of perverting the course of justice.

Thomas is accused of leaving the scene after the accident and failing to report it to police.

He was charged on March 5 and will appear at Manchester Magistrates' Court on April 16, a Crown Prosecutions spokeswoman said.

Sue Cairns, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "I can confirm that, having considered a file passed to me by police, and having applied the CPS Code for Crown Prosecutors, I have authorised a summons be issued for a 25-year-old man to attend Manchester Magistrates' Court on 16 April.

"This is in order to answer charges relating to a road accident that occurred on 31 October last year."

Shortly after the crash it was announced that the actor had spilt from his long-term girlfriend and former Coronation Street star Tina O'Brien.

Their relationship ended just 12 months after the birth of their baby daughter, Scarlett.

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