England

Paul Merson banned after M40 drink-driving crash

  • 8 February 2012
  • From the section England
Paul Merson - PA
Image caption Paul Merson was breathalysed at the scene of the crash on the M40 in Warwickshire

Former England footballer Paul Merson has been given a 14-month-driving ban after pleading guilty to drink-driving following a motorway crash.

Merson crashed his Mercedes ML350 into a 38-tonne lorry after falling asleep at the wheel on the M40, near Warwick, Leamington Magistrates' Court heard.

The former Arsenal, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough midfielder was also fined £1,500 over the crash on 12 October.

Merson had 124mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood. The legal limit is 80mg.

He failed a roadside-breath-test at scene of the crash which happened about 03:15.

The Sky Sports pundit was returning to his Sutton Coldfield home after drinking at a charity event in London, magistrates heard.

'A few drinks'

His Mercedes hit the rear of the lorry, damaging the back of it.

Merson, 43, was also ordered to pay £105 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge by magistrates.

Merson, who played for England in the 1998 World Cup and managed Walsall between 2004 and 2006, was taken to Warwick Hospital and treated for a cut to his head after the incident, police said.

Prosecutor Philippa Cowley said Merson was among several people who called the police.

He was standing on the hard shoulder when two police constables arrived at the scene, said Ms Cowley.

"It was clear that he had got a head injury and he was very frank with the police," she told the court.

"He said that he had fallen asleep and had been at a charity do for children and had had a few drinks."

The Ministry of Defence confirmed the lorry involved in the crash was registered to the government department.

Merson has previously spoken of his long-term problems with alcoholism, drug addiction and gambling.

In 1995 he admitted his drink and cocaine addictions, while in 2003 he received help from the Sporting Chance clinic, set up by former Arsenal and England team-mate Tony Adams, after saying he was unable to stop betting and had run up huge losses, including £30,000 on the outcome of one football match.

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