Football Liverpool and Aston Villa star Dean Saunders arrives at court

Former Liverpool and Aston Villa footballer Dean Saunders is JAILED for 10 weeks for failing to give a breath test after he nearly caused a crash on the way back from Chester Races

  • Dean Saunders has been jailed for 10 weeks after refusing to give breath sample 
  • Former Liverpool and Aston Villa striker was stopped in an ‘intoxicated’ state 
  • The talkSPORT pundit, 55, had initially denied both the charges against him 
  • He was slurring speech and barely able to stand when stopped in his Audi A8
  • Slammed by judge for being ‘arrogant’ and considering himself ‘above the law’

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 after failing to give a breath test when he was caught driving ‘erratically’ after downing pints at the races.   

The former Liverpool striker refused to take a breathalyser when he was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving in his £70,000 Audi A8 in Boughton, Chester, on May 10. 

When taken to a police station, he again failed to provide a breath sample. 

The 55-year-old said he had been out at the Chester Races and had ‘drunk two pints.’ 

But ‘intoxicated’ Saunders was caught on bodycam footage slurring his speech and propping himself up against his car when he was asked to get out of the vehicle.

Saunders claimed his asthma prevented him from giving a breath sample, but he failed to tell officers about his condition when he was arrested. 

He was slammed by the furious judge today who labelled him ‘arrogant’ and said he considered himself ‘above the law’. 

He also said the father-of-three narrowly avoided an accident but had shown ‘no real remorse’. 

Saunders pleaded not guilty at an earlier hearing but admitted a charge of failing to comply with a roadside breath test and failing to provide a breath sample for analysis at the eleventh hour. 

The star, 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. 

Saunders is also a regular pundit on talkSPORT (pictured). He had denied both charges but was jailed and banned from the road today 

He was due to go on trial on Wednesday but indicated through his lawyers on Tuesday that he would not be contesting the charges and entered his guilty plea on Wednesday morning. 

Passing sentence, District Judge Nicholas Sanders told him: ‘Throughout these proceedings you have shown yourself to be arrogant, thinking you are someone whose previous and current role in the public eye entitles you to be above the law.

‘In fact the opposite is true – someone in the public eye should expect a deterrent sentence when they flout the law.’

He also told the father-of-three, that, despite police body-cam footage and ‘overwhelming evidence’, it was only on Tuesday that he had decided to admit his guilt. 

Judge Sanders continued: ‘Your driving came to the attention of police officers. You very nearly caused a serious accident.

‘They were seriously concerned you may cause an accident. You were stopped and failed to provide a breath specimen and continued with this obstructive and evasive conduct at the police station.

‘I do not accept you were confused. You consistently refused to co-operate.’ 

Saunders was capped 75 times at senior level for Wales between 1986 and 2001, scoring 22 times. He also played for Liverpool, Aston Villa and Derby County

The court heard that, at around 12.45am on Friday May 10, a police patrol in Chester city centre spotted Saunders’ car driving at speed and failing to give way at a roundabout, causing another vehicle to brake.

The car continued to drive erratically, braking and swerving to avoid hitting another vehicle, crossing over the white line in the road.

The officers decided to pull Saunders over and could smell ‘intoxicants’.

Clare Bate, prosecuting, said: ‘The defendant was unsteady on his feet and, on exiting the vehicle, the defendant had to steady himself against the vehicle.’

Saunders’ speech was slurred and it was difficult for the officers to understand what he was saying, the court was told.

He was asked to provide a roadside breath test, refused three times and was then arrested.

Saunders (pictured arriving at court today), entered his guilty plea at the eleventh hour

However, at the police station in Blacon, Chester, despite numerous requests, he again refused to provide a specimen.

Saunders later claimed he believed, wrongly, that he was entitled to see his solicitor before giving a specimen. 

Saunders told a probation officer he had been at Chester Races all day, where he drank two pints, and then went for a meal back at a hotel, had another pint and then decided to drive home.

Probation officer Kim Graham told the court that, because Saunders’ work as a pundit involves travelling all over the country to football matches, a sentence of carrying out unpaid work was not practical.

Outside court, Conor Johnstone, defending Saunders, said he would be appealing against the sentence as he believed it was excessive.

Mr Johnstone had told the court that Saunders believed he was entitled to see his solicitor before giving a specimen at the police station and was just mistaken about that.

He added: ‘He was taking medication at the time for his knees and back. I don’t know whether that had any interaction with the alcohol he had taken that day.

‘He realises the mistake he has made.’

A court source said Saunders, like most defendants jailed at Chester Magistrates’ Court, is likely to serve his sentence at HMP Altcourse, Liverpool.

Mr Johnstone said his client was ‘in shock’ and ‘disappointed’ with the sentence.

The solicitor said Saunders’ legal team would make a bail application to a judge at Chester Crown Court on Wednesday afternoon so the ex-footballer does not have to spend time in custody before any future appeal hearing.

The bail application will not be a public hearing, but will made by a judge dealing only with the paperwork in his office, Mr Johnstone added.

Saunders (pictured in 2015) narrowly avoided an accident when he got behind the wheel after a day at the races

The former striker, pictured here playing for Turkish club Galatasaray in 1995, is likely to serve his sentence at HMP Altcourse, Liverpool

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.

He finished his playing career at Bradford City in 2001 before moving into management.

He had spells in charge of Wrexham and Doncaster Rovers and is a regular pundit on televised matches.

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. 

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