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Former Liverpool FC striker jailed for refusing to give a drink-driving breath test

|News, Driving offences

Former Liverpool striker Dean Saunders has been jailed for ten weeks after pleading guilty to failing to comply with a roadside breath test and failing to provide a breath sample for analysis.

The Crown Prosecution Service said that Saunders, 55, who also played for Aston Villa, Derby County and Wales, was stopped by police on suspicion of drink-driving in Boughton, Chester, shortly before 1am on 10 May 2019.

He pleaded guilty by letter on Tuesday 27 August 2019 and today (28 August) he was sentenced at Chester Magistrates’ Court. His sentence was reduced by two weeks because he pleaded guilty. He has also been banned from driving for 30 months.

Saunders, who lives near Northwich in Cheshire, had denied both charges at an earlier hearing. Saunders was driving a black Audi above the speed limit in Chester city centre in the early hours of Friday 10 May when he was spotted by police.

Two officers in a marked police car followed him and saw the Audi fail to stop at a roundabout, causing another vehicle to brake suddenly. Saunders then continued to drive erratically, above the speed limit and crossing the white lines of the lane he was driving in. 

The officers put on the police vehicle’s blue light and brought Saunders to a stop in Boughton. As Saunders got out of his car he appeared unsteady on his feet and smelt of alcohol. The officers asked him to give a sample of breath for analysis but he repeatedly refused.

He was arrested and taken to a police station but again repeatedly refused to give a breath sample. He was formally charged later that morning.

Matt Harvey from Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service said: "Dean Saunders refused to give a breath sample at the roadside and in custody and refused to admit that he’d been drinking.

“He refused to accept what he’d done until the last minute and pleaded guilty only the day before his trial was due. Saunders continually claimed that he didn’t appreciate the trouble he was getting himself into by refusing to give the sample. But the police explained this to him on a number of occasions.

“The court had made it clear that Saunders' refusals to abide by the law could well lead to prison and that’s where it’s got him.

“Dean Saunders is well known to many people and respected for his former career in football and now as a commentator. But he is not above the law. He has recklessly refused to submit to the legal procedures that everyone is subject to and that has meant that he has now lost his freedom and his good name.

“The Crown Prosecution Service built a strong case against Mr Saunders and was determined to bring him to justice despite his denials. He is now behind bars and he has only himself to blame.”

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