Rooney responds as drink-driving punishment handed down

Date published: Monday 18th September 2017 11:20

Everton striker Wayne Rooney has apologised for his “unforgivable lack of judgement” after pleading guilty to a drink-driving charge.

Rooney accepted the charge of drink driving on a night out while his pregnant wife and their three sons were on holiday.

The former England captain was stopped by police when driving a woman’s black Volkswagen Beetle in Wilmslow, Cheshire, at 2am on September 1.

Rooney, 31, was later arrested and bailed and on Monday he entered his guilty plea at Stockport Magistrates’ Court.

He was banned from driving for two years and ordered to perform 100 hours of unpaid work as part of a 12-month community order.

Rooney said in a statement released to Press Association Sport: “Following today’s court hearing I want publicly to apologise for my unforgivable lack of judgement in driving while over the legal limit. It was completely wrong.

“I have already said sorry to my family, my manager and chairman and everyone at Everton FC. Now I want to apologise to all the fans and everyone else who has followed and supported me throughout my career.

“Of course I accept the sentence of the court and hope that I can make some amends through my community service.”

Wearing a blue suit with his hands in his pockets, Rooney walked into the court building accompanied by a small entourage.

Rooney was given a warm welcome at Old Trafford on his return to former club Manchester United on Sunday but it ended in disappointment with a 4-0 defeat for his boyhood club Everton, which he rejoined during the summer break.

He has been married to his high-school sweetheart Coleen since 2008 and they have three children together.

Mrs Rooney recently announced she is pregnant with their fourth child.

Rooney’s legal team asked District Judge John Temperley to consider not imposing a community order because of his ongoing charitable work.

However the judge said he was “not convinced” that imposing a large fine “would have the same effect”.

Rooney was also told to pay £85 prosecution costs and a victim surcharge for the same amount.

The court heard Rooney was almost three times the legal limit.

A breathalyser test showed his alcohol level was 104 microgrammes in 100 millilitres of breath.

The drink-drive limit in England and Wales is 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath.

Rooney entered Court Two at just before 10.30am and sat in the public gallery next to his agent Paul Stretford.

Less than a minute later he was called into the dock to confirm his full name, Wayne Mark Rooney, his address and date of birth.

He briefly had his hands in his pockets as he walked into the dock but swiftly moved them behind his back as he faced the judge.

When asked how he pleaded to the charge that he drove under the influence of alcohol while over the prescribed limit, he replied guilty.

Kate Gaskell, prosecuting, said a police officer on patrol was on duty in Altrincham Road, Wilmslow at 2.10am when they noticed the rear tail-light of a Volkswagen Beetle on the left-hand side had gone out.

She said the officer intended to follow the vehicle but it pulled over with Rooney seen to be at the wheel with a female in the front passenger seat.

Ms Gaskell said the footballer provided a positive roadside breath test before he was taken to a police station where the reading was confirmed.

The court heard that Rooney currently had three points on his driving licence for a speeding offence on August 24, 2016.

After the hearing Rooney left court with his lawyers, again followed by a media scrum of TV cameras, press photographers and reporters.

His entourage fought their way through the throng to a waiting people carrier with tinted windows and the footballer was driven away.

Shortly after the court hearing Rooney also tweeted his statement of apology to his 16.3 million followers.

Michael Rainford, defending, said his client accepted the facts of the prosecution case in full.

He said: “Upon stopping and speaking to the police officer he was fully co-operative and compliant both at the roadside and also at the police station later on, to the extent that the officers who dealt with Mr Rooney said he was the perfect gentleman.

“What I would say, through me, Wayne Rooney wishes to express his genuine remorse for what was a terrible mistake, a terrible error of judgement on his part that evening.

“He realises he has not only let himself down very badly but his family.

“He has a wife and three young children.

“Of course he has let down the fans, the young people who look up to him.”

The court heard that Rooney had written a letter to the judge and that a “bundle” of character references had been submitted.

Mr Rainford said: “He works with Alder Hey (hospital), Claire House (children’s hospice), the NSPCC, his own foundation, the Manchester United Foundation and Everton In The Community.

“He is not somebody who pays lip service to the charities as so many often do.

“This is somebody who is actually hands on with the work he carries out.

“It is something that is very close to his heart.

“I think perhaps a lot of people are not aware of it. It is not something he shouts from the rooftops. He just gets on with it.”

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