Ant McPartlin pleads guilty to drink driving charge

TV presenter says he is ‘truly sorry for what happened’ after he is fined £86,000

Ant McPartlin arrives at court

TV presenter Ant McPartlin​ has been fined £86,000 and banned from driving for 20 months after pleading guilty to drink driving.

The 42-year-old admitted he was more than twice the legal limit after his black Mini collided with two other cars in Richmond, west London, on 18 March.

He pleaded guilty to driving with 75 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35 micrograms.

Speaking outside Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court, he said he was “ashamed and mortified” for crashing while drink driving with his mother in the passenger seat.

McPartlin, who lives in Chiswick, west London, was arrested around 4pm on 18 March after a failing a roadside breathalyser test following the collision.

A number of people were treated at the scene for minor injuries, and a child passenger from one of the cars was taken to hospital to be checked as a precaution, the Metropolitan Police previously confirmed.

After he was charged, ITV announced the Saturday Night Takeaway host would step back from his TV commitments, with co-presenter Declan Donnelly hosting the final two episodes of the show on his own.

McPartlin appeared alongside Donnelly on TV screens over the weekend as Britain’s Got Talent aired its pre-recorded audition shows. But ITV confirmed Donnelly will be hosting the live shows without his TV partner of almost 30 years.

Ant McPartlin, one half of the TV presenting duo Ant and Dec, arrives at Wimbledon Magistrates Court charged with drink driving following a three-car collision (Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty)

Katie Sinnett-Jones, prosecuting, told the court McPartlin was driving around a “sharp bend and lost control” at which point he ended up on the wrong side of Lower Richmond Road.

He collided with another Mini Cooper car before driving “straight into the front of an oncoming car”.

McPartlin’s vehicle “came to a halt and was no longer driveable due to the damage caused” she said. Members of the public called the police.

The court heard that the driver of the other Mini said afterwards he thought he and his family were going to die in the collision.

In a statement read by Ms Sinnett-Jones, he said: “Myself and my family were in deep shock as we believed we could have died as a result of Mr McPartlin’s reckless driving.”

McPartlin’s barrister, Liam Walker, said his client had been seeking help for “alcohol and emotional issues” at the time of the crash, adding his mother was in the car with him.

He told the district judge the crash was down to “a brief relapse unbeknownst to his passenger”.

“Anthony McPartlin is sorry and is doing everything he can to ensure this never happens again,” Mr Walker said.

“He hopes that in time he can make himself better and that he might be forgiven by all of the many people he knows and he feels he has let down terribly.”

Ant McPartlin stepped back from his TV commitments following his arrest (Getty)

The court heard a statement McPartlin gave to police, in which he said: “I am very sorry I did this. I am ashamed and mortified that this happened.

“I accept full culpability for this and wish to apologise to all those concerned.”

Mr Walker said: “Through me, Mr McPartlin wishes to express both sorrow and regret over his actions. He is sorry, but not sorry because he is here.

“He knows it is right that he’s here and he hopes that which has led him here will eventually help him,” the lawyer continued.

“But for good fortune the consequences could have been worse. He feels the guilt that is reflected in his plea.”

District Judge Barbara Barnes told McPartlin “you are a well-known and successful entertainer” whose weekly income is around £130,000 a week.

Sentencing him, she said: “At the time when it happened you were struggling with various personal problems and also alcohol issues for some months.

“This incident happened, sadly, when it seems you suffered a brief relapse.”

The judge described McPartlin’s previous “exemplary character” adding: “I think it will have quite an impact on you to know you’re no longer a man of good character.”

Fining him, she said: “Because of the seriousness of this offence, the financial pain must be imposed on you as on any other offender.”

McPartlin was also told to pay £255 in costs.

Speaking briefly outside the court following sentencing, McPartlin said: “I just want to say I’m truly sorry for what happened.

“High standards are expected of me, I expect them of myself. I’ve let myself down, I let a lot of people down. And for that I am truly sorry. I’d like to apologise to everybody involved in the crash and I’m just thankful no one was seriously hurt.”

Additional reporting by PA

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