Ex-Premier League footballer Dean Saunders arriving at Chester Magistrates’ Court today where he was jailed for 10 weeks
Former Premier League star Dean Saunders has today been jailed for 10 weeks for failing to give a breath test when he was caught ‘intoxicated’ behind the wheel after a day at the races.
The former Wales, Liverpool and Aston Villa striker refused to take a breathalyser when he was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving by police in Boughton, Chester, on May 10.
When taken to a police station, he again failed to provide a breath sample, the court heard.
The 55-year-old claimed his asthma prevented him from providing a breath sample.
He said he had been out at Chester Races and had drunk two pints.
His lawyer suggested this may have ‘interacted’ with the medication he takes for injury to his knees and his inhaler for his asthma.
But police said Saunders was slurring his speech and had to prop himself up against his Audi A8 car when he was asked to get out of the vehicle.
He pleaded not guilty at an earlier hearing but today he admitted a charge of failing to comply with a roadside breath test and failing to provide a breath sample for analysis.
Saunders, who also played for Aston Villa and Derby County and was capped by Wales 75 times, was also banned from driving for 30 months and ordered to pay court costs of £620.
A separate charge of dangerous driving was dropped by the prosecution.
Saunders is also a regular pundit on talkSPORT (pictured). He had denied both charges
Connor Johnstone, defending, had told the court that Saunders suffered from ongoing asthma problem, and told officers about it as he refused to provide a breath sample.
But Kerry Pepperall, prosecuting, claimed Saunders had not mentioned it during his arrest.
A review of CCTV and body-cam footage had not revealed whether Saunders had told officers, the court heard.
Ms Pepperall said the footage showed ‘an intoxicated person’ who was ‘highly under the influence of alcohol’ at the time.
Saunders (pictured arriving at court today), was warned by the judge he faced a custodial sentence
He had been warned by district judge Nicholas Sanders he faced a custodial sentence.
The judge said: ‘The sentence guidelines have a starting point of custody. I want you to be quite clear about that.
‘I am obliged to give you credit for a guilty plea in advance of a trial. A guilty plea would make a significant difference to sentencing if you are convicted.’
Failing to provide a specimen for analysis when told to by police officers can carry a maximum sentence, if convicted, of six months in prison and a driving ban.
In an illustrious playing career, Saunders was capped 75 times at senior level for Wales between 1986 and 2001, scoring 22 times. He is also a regular pundit on talkSPORT.
In 2016, Saunders was left with a parking fine totalling more than £1,000 when he left his car in a short stay car park at Birmingham Airport while he flew out to join the punditry team for the Euro 2016.
But as Wales made the quarter-final of the tournament, his car parking bill grew steadily by £100 a day.
A whip-round was started to help pay his fine after Wales’ unexpected success at their first-ever European Championship meant he had to stay on with the BBC, alongside host Gary Lineker.