Footballer killed in crash was over limit

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The Independent Football

A first division footballer was nearly three times over the drink-drive limit when he lost control of his BMW and careered off the road, an inquest was told yesterday.

The Portsmouth goalkeeper Aaron Flahavan, 25, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was thrown out of the car and rescuers took more than two hours to find his body, which was concealed in thick foliage about ten feet away.

The inquest in Bournemouth was told that Mr Flahavan, 25, was driving towards Bournemouth on the A338 at 12.30am on 5 August when he overtook Graham Gilmore, who was doing 80mph. Mr Gilmore told the inquest he thought the BMW was going so fast it could not stay in control on the bend ahead. A post-mortem examination showed Mr Flahavan had a blood-alcohol level of 227 milligrams per 100 millilitres. The legal limit is 80.

The hearing was told that Mr Flahavan had blacked out in two matches when playing for Portsmouth in 1998 and 1999. But Allan Anscombe, a Home Office pathologist, said the footballer had a successful operation in July this year to solve the heart palpitations that had caused the black-outs. He said the condition would not have been aggravated by alcohol and did not contribute to the crash.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded.