Manchester United footballer Ryan Tunnicliffe banned for drink-driving after knocking van into house
Thursday 25 October 2012
Drink-driving Manchester United midfielder Ryan Tunnicliffe has been banned from the road for 18 months.
The 19-year-old crashed his luxury Range Rover into a parked van after he drank "a lot" of alcohol the night before with his family.
The unattended Ford Transit van in Heywood, Greater Manchester, was shunted five metres (16.4ft) into the stone wall of a house in the incident.
No-one was hurt in the collision apart from Tunnicliffe's front seat passenger, a friend, who received minor injuries.
Aside from the damage to the van and the house involved, his Range Rover was written off at a cost of £30,000.
The footballer phoned the police from the scene in Green Lane shortly after 2.15pm on October 13 and officers attended.
A police constable noticed his breath smelt of alcohol.
He provided a positive breath test at the scene and then gave a reading of 62mg/100ml, the legal limit being 35mg, at Bury police station.
Tunnicliffe, of Clemshaw Close, Heywood, pleaded guilty to the offence on his first appearance over the matter at Bury Magistrates' Court.
The court heard both his family and club were "very disappointed" about the incident.
His ban is likely to be reduced by four months after Tunnicliffe indicated he would be interested in attending a drink-drive rehabilitation course.
He was fined £800 and ordered to pay £85 prosecution costs and an £80 victim surcharge.
Tunnicliffe was told to take his hands out of his pockets before the hearing started.
Caroline Patrick, prosecuting, said his vehicle left the road and went on to a footpath before hitting the van which was knocked into the wall and the wooden garden gates of a house.
Chris Proctor, defending, said: "My instructions are that he had consumed alcohol the evening before and unfortunately, in an error of judgment on his part, he thought he would be below the legal limit and he was able to drive.
"Generally he is a very sensible young man. He is a professional footballer and this incident happened in an international break in the calendar.
"He had some drinks with his family. He generally does not tend to drink alcohol because of his footballing commitments."
Tunnicliffe had gone to collect a vehicle he had recently bought before the incident at a notorious accident blackspot, the solicitor said.
Mr Proctor added this was not a situation in which his client drank alcohol and then immediately got behind the wheel.
A number of letters of character reference were handed to the presiding magistrate, District Judge Richardson.
Mr Proctor said: "The third parties in this case, his family and club, are very disappointed at what has happened."
The judge told Tunnicliffe: "I appreciate what is said on your behalf that you did not drink in daylight hours on that day.
"What was reflected is what you drank the night before, which must have been a lot.
"I think you are genuinely contrite about that and I am going to give you full credit for your guilty plea and that you had the courage to phone the police yourself.
"There is also nothing like this in your background.
"You are a well-paid athlete and the fine reflects that. It is a reflection of your income."
It was not stated in court whether the Range Rover was the car he had left home to pick up.
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