Aston Villa star Jack Grealish banned from driving after lockdown smash

15 December 2020, 12:14 | Updated: 15 December 2020, 12:26

Jack Grealish arrives at Birmingham Magistrates' Court
Jack Grealish arrives at Birmingham Magistrates' Court. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Jack Grealish has been banned from driving and fined £82,499 after crashing his £80,000 Range Rover during March's Covid-19 lockdown.

The Aston Villa captain previously admitted two charges of careless driving at Birmingham Magistrates' Court.

During sentencing, District Judge John Bristow was told a witness said Grealish smelled of "intoxicating liquor" and was slurring his words immediately after his 4x4 hit two parked vehicles near Solihull on March 29.

Less than 24 hours earlier the 25-year-old had posted a video on Twitter in which he urged people to stay at home to save lives and protect the NHS.

The court heard he is “deeply ashamed” over the incident.

Grealish arrived at court on foot after his Range Rover had pulled up outside the main entrance in front of waiting photographers and camera crews, briefly distracting the media's attention.

Moments later the driver emerged to hand out Cadbury Milk Tray chocolates.

Grealish also pleaded guilty to a separate offence after prosecutors said an unmarked police car spotted him driving at more than 90mph along the M42 at "close to an intimidating distance" on October 18.

In mitigation for the two offences of careless driving, his lawyer John Dye told the judge: "Mr Grealish acknowledges his driving on those two occasions was very poor.

"He's deeply ashamed about that.

Grealish leaves court after being banned from driving
Grealish leaves court after being banned from driving. Picture: PA

"I often stand up here and we do represent all sorts of people, and (they) talk about remorse, but this is someone who is genuinely sorry.

"Not just because reputationally this is problematic for him but he is genuinely sorry.”

The court was shown CCTV footage of Grealish's Range Rover clipping a parked car and then veering into a wall in the village of Dickens Heath in March.

Grealish, wearing a hoodie, was then seen holding his head in his hands, as he approached by-standers.

Extensive dashcam footage from a police car which followed Grealish during the second incident was also played to the court.

It showed him driving towards Aston Villa's training ground at high speed. An officer could be heard saying "he's at 80" as Grealish travelled north along the M42.

The footage ended before he came to a halt near the training ground, seconds after the police vehicle's sirens were activated.

Grealish, of Barnt Green, Worcestershire, was also ordered to pay costs of £220 and a victim surcharge of £181, taking his total in costs and fines to £82,900.

He will also have to apply for a new licence when his ban ends after nine months.