Former footballer Leon McKenzie jailed for attempting to dodge driving ban

 

Former Norwich City striker Leon McKenzie has been jailed for sending bogus letters to the police in a bid to avoid a driving ban.

The 33-year-old, of Northampton, was sentenced to six months in prison after admitting sending the letters to Northamptonshire Police in an attempt to avoid speeding convictions.

Sentencing the former Premiership footballer at Northampton Crown Court today, Judge Richard Bray said: "A custodial sentence is necessary for this type of offence which strikes right at the heart of justice.

"It would completely send out the wrong message if I did not hand out a custodial sentence."

McKenzie, who retired from professional football in December, was also handed a 18-month driving ban.

McKenzie admitted six charges of perverting the course of justice at a hearing earlier this year after sending letters to Northamptonshire Police to avoid six speeding fines between February 2008 and December 2009.

The letters, purporting to be from a fictional garage in London, claimed McKenzie's car was off the road.

In mitigation, Andrew McGee, defending, told the court today that the former striker, who started his career with Crystal Palace and had played for Northampton and Norwich, was known to be a person of good character who had, at the time of the offence, been suffering from depression, resulting in him attempting to take his own life at the end of 2009.

Acting as a character witness today, the father-of-four's uncle, Duke McKenzie, a former championship boxer, told the court he too had suffered from depression.

"People think we live these glamorous lifestyles but we're under the same pressures.

"It mounts up if things are not going your way."

Clarke Carlisle, chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association, said McKenzie's story had resulted in him seeking help for his own depression.

Carlisle, who is on loan to Northampton Town from Burnley, said he and McKenzie had been working with other players who had since come forward with depression through the PFA.

Sentencing McKenzie, who wore a grey suit, pinstripe shirt and silver tie, Judge Richard Bray gave the former footballer credit for his early guilty plea but said a custodial sentence was inevitable.

As family and friends sobbed in the public gallery, Mr Bray said that, although he was aware McKenzie had suffered from depression, he had committed "professional fraud".

"You were prepared to pretend that your car was in a garage that didn't exist.

"I can't excuse the offences.

"A custodial sentence is necessary for this type of offence which strikes right at the heart of justice.

"It would completely send out the wrong message if I did not hand out a custodial sentence."

PA

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballStriker in talks over £17m move from Manchester United
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
boksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor