Darron Gibson: Ex-Sunderland player sentenced for drink driving
Former Sunderland midfielder Darron Gibson has been sentenced after admitting drink-driving.
The 30-year-old Republic of Ireland player was three times the legal limit when he smashed into parked cars in Dovedale Road on St Patrick's Day.
Appearing at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court, he was given a two-year community order.
He was spared jail after District Judge Roger Elsey heard he had psychological issues at the time.
The ex-Republic of Ireland midfielder, who is now receiving treatment, was also banned from driving for 40 months.
Gibson wept during the hearing during which was told he had used sleeping tablets and drunk from a litre bottle of vodka the night before the crash.
The court also heard Gibson, who played for Manchester United, knocked a taxi's wing mirror off in West Boldon during the 17 March crash.
Sunderland ended his contract after he was charged.
At an earlier hearing Gibson, from Hale, Cheshire, was told that because of a number of "aggravating factors", including a previous drink-driving conviction, a custodial sentence was being considered.
The former Everton player was on his way to the club's training ground when he crashed into the taxi before carrying on and crashing his Mercedes 4x4 into parked cars.
In a serious collision in 2015, his car hit three cyclists who were fixing a wheel on the pavement, the court heard.
After admitting the drink-driving charge last month, Gibson was handed an interim disqualification and granted unconditional bail.
Gibson must also pay one of the car owners £800 compensation, costs and a victim surcharge of £85.
Judge Elsey said: "You were clearly not in control of your vehicle and you put pedestrians and other drivers at risk of injury or worse.
"You have a number of significant psychological issues for which it now appears you are receiving appropriate treatment.
"The community is best protected if the causes of your binge drinking are removed and that requires extensive work with a number of agencies."
Henry Blackshaw, defending, said Gibson had undergone counselling and had seen a psychiatrist.
He said Gibson felt genuine remorse for the other drivers, as well as for his family.