London (AFP) – Aston Villa and England midfielder Jack Grealish smelled of “intoxicating liquor” and was slurring his words after crashing his Range Rover during the coronavirus lockdown earlier this year, a court heard on Tuesday.
Grealish pleaded guilty to two charges, including one linked to the incident when his car hit two parked vehicles in late March, just days after nationwide restrictions were imposed.
The Villa captain, who has won five caps for England, did not appear in court in Birmingham, but, entering pleas through his lawyer, admitted driving without due care.
The 25-year-old winger was involved in the incident less than 24 hours after issuing a Twitter video message urging others to stay at home to save lives and protect the National Health Service.
Grealish also admitted a second charge of careless driving in October.
His car was clocked by an unmarked police patrol doing up to 98 miles per hour (158 kilometres per hour).
Prosecutor Tinofara Nyatanga told the court the first incident happened in a residential road on March 29.
She delivered an account given by a security guard who witnessed Grealish’s car hitting other vehicles and a wall.
Nyatanga, recounting the guard’s opinion of Grealish, said: “He could smell, in his opinion, intoxicating liquor on his breath.
“His speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet.”
During the hearing, district judge John Bristow pointed out the offence took place well into the first national Covid-19 lockdown, when Grealish “shouldn’t even have been driving”.
Grealish apologised hours after the incident, saying in a video message that he was “deeply embarrassed” and had “stupidly agreed” to go around to a friend’s house.
The judge said Grealish already had six penalty points on his driving licence for a 2018 motorway speeding offence and could be at risk of a driving ban.
Sentencing will take place on December 15, with Grealish set to attend in person.
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