Football star Jack Grealish has admitted crashing his car after a party during lockdown — less than 24 hours after he urged fans to ‘Stay Home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives’.
The England and Aston Villa winger — dubbed the ‘new Gazza’ by pundits — stank of alcohol after reversing his Range Rover into a parked van, before mounting a kerb, hitting a Mercedes and then smashing into a nearby wall, a court heard.
He was slurring his words, unsteady on his feet and wearing odd slippers when he stumbled from his £80,000 4×4 following the crash in Solihull, West Midlands, at 8.40am, Birmingham magistrates’ court was told.
The accident happened just six days after the first lockdown was imposed in March — and the day after Grealish posted a video on Twitter telling followers: ‘To help save lives you must stay at home… this is urgent.’
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A security guard saw Grealish, 25, get behind the wheel of his Range Rover and slam into other vehicles as he tried to leave a cul-de-sac.
Tinofara Nyatanga, prosecuting, said that the guard recognised the footballer after rushing up to see if he needed help. She said he ‘could smell, in his opinion, intoxicating liquor on his breath’.
District judge John Bristow pointed out that Grealish ‘shouldn’t even have been driving’ due to the lockdown. Asked whether he had been charged with leaving home without a reasonable excuse, Mrs Nyatanga said: ‘No, but it is an aggravating factor.’
Villa fined him £150,000 for breaching government guidelines and donated the money to charity. The footballer, who did not appear in court because he was training with his club, pleaded guilty to careless driving. Two other charges of failing to stop and failing to report the accident were dropped.
He also admitted another charge of careless driving after being clocked doing 98mph in his Range Rover on the M42 last month. Judge Bristow warned Grealish he faced a ban and ordered him to appear in court for sentencing on December 15.
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