Clarke Carlisle: Former footballer avoids jail but is told to seek help for his mental health problems

The ex-Burnley defender jumped into the path of a 12-ton lorry two days after being caught drink-driving for a third time

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The Independent Football

The former Premier League footballer Clarke Carlisle has evaded a jail sentence and instead been banned from driving for three years after admitting his third drink-driving offence.

Carlisle was stopped by police after nearly crashing into a delivery lorry in central London. Two days later he jumped into the path of a 12-ton lorry on the A64 near York. Highbury magistrates’ court in north London was told that Carlisle was “no stranger to driving offences of this ilk” – a reference to excess drinking offences in 2011 and 1999.

Since recovering from injuries sustained when he jumped in front of the lorry, he has worked to raise the profile of dual diagnosis – the term used to describe patients with both mental health problems and drug and/or alcohol abuse. In acknowledging his contribution to society, district judge Susan Williams said he would be ordered to do 150 hours’ unpaid community work for his offence.

Carlisle said “thank you ma’am” as the judge sentenced him and urged him to find a clinic for his mental health problems.

She told him that he is “a talented and resourceful man” who has been a positive influence to people, including to “those who are less fortunate than yourself”. She also warned Carlisle that he must not drive while he is banned.

Lisa Judge, defending, said Carlisle, 35, had now seen the error of his ways. She described the arrest, just two days before he jumped in front of the lorry, as having happened while he was “in an extremely dark place in terms of his own life”.

Miss Judge said Carlisle still “has work to be done” to get to grips with his psychological condition but he has already taken steps which give him an insight into his problems.

Carlisle, a former chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association who played for Burnley, Queen’s Park Rangers, Leeds United and Northampton Town, admitted failing to provide a sample.

He had previously pleaded guilty to a charge of driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence on the same date, when police officers spotted him driving his Mercedes in an erratic fashion, the court heard.