Danny Care banned after pleading guilty to drink driving charge

 

England rugby star Danny Care was fined a total of £3,100 and banned from driving for 16 months today after pleading guilty to drink-driving in the early hours of New Year's Day.

The Harlequins scrum-half was stopped at the Winchester services on the M3 motorway in Hampshire in the early hours, Southampton Magistrates' Court heard.

The incident led to the 25-year-old being excluded from the RBS 6 Nations squad. It came three weeks after he had been fined by police for being drunk and disorderly.

On New Year's Eve, hours before his arrest, Care tweeted: "2012 is hopefully going to be a massive year... Earn respect. Earn the shirt. Set the example."

Care pleaded guilty to the offence of driving with excess alcohol and the court heard that a breath test showed he had 77mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath - the legal limit is 35mg.

Care was fined £3,000, ordered to pay £85 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge fee.

Kelly Wickens, prosecuting, told the court a police officer patrolling the southbound carriageway of the M3 saw Care's Range Rover approaching at speed at about 3.15am.

She said: "He noticed in the rear view mirror another vehicle approaching quite rapidly and as soon as that vehicle got within yards it suddenly slowed down."

She said the officer slowed his vehicle down and the Range Rover also slowed down to stay behind the police vehicle.

Mrs Wickens said the officer pulled Care over and directed him to stop at the nearby Winchester services.

Care was taken to Lyndhurst police station, where he gave the positive breath test.

Barry Warburton, defending, said his client had been "compliant" and "totally polite" in his dealings with the police.

He said that losing his licence would have an impact on his ability to do his charitable work and handed a letter of reference to the magistrates from Care's club.

Mr Warburton said: "My client does a considerable amount of charitable work which takes him from his home in Cobham to north London.

"He proposes to continue with his charity work but proposes to use public transport.

"He has been fined £10,000 by his club, which takes this very seriously, and he takes this very seriously, he is very contrite and shows a considerable amount of remorse."

The court heard that Care already had three points on his licence for texting on his mobile phone while driving and six points for speeding.

Derek Lott, chairman of the magistrates' panel, told Care that they had reduced his fine from £5,000 because of his guilty plea.

Care also elected to attend a 16-hour drink-driving rehabilitation course which, if he completes it, will reduce his driving ban to 12 months.

Mr Lott said: "Driving with excess alcohol is a serious matter indeed.

"It's fortunate any incident didn't happen."

Care did not comment as he left court but after his arrest he said: "I do accept that I made a very bad decision on the evening in question and need to take the punishment that the courts hand out.

"I have decided not to contest the charge as I want to bring this to a close swiftly rather than have it hanging over my head for a year or more.

"I would stress, though, that at no time did I think I had drunk enough to be over the legal limit.

"However, I should not have got into the car and have to accept the consequences of that action.

"I am devastated not to be selected for the elite player squad for the Six Nations as I felt I had been playing near the top of my game with Quins.

"However, I wish the team and the other number nines who come in to play the best of luck as playing for your country is the highest honour in the game and I will miss it hugely.

"It's now up to me to get my head down, keep playing well and learn from my actions.

"I do understand the need for England players to be role models in the game and have tried to live up to that at all times, but have made a couple of stupid decisions in the past weeks.

"I can only hope for the chance in the future to prove those decisions were the exception not the rule.

"I am devastated because my actions have let so many people down."

Care was fined a "substantial" amount by Harlequins following his arrest for being drunk and disorderly, which he was required to donate in person to a cancer charity.

The club has fined him £10,000 for the latest incident and he will be required to work on its inner-city coaching programme until the end of pre-season 2012/13.

PA

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