Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Soap star denies drink-drive charge

Coronation Street actress Barbara Knox denies a drink-driving charge

Coronation Street actress Barbara Knox has pleaded not guilty to drink-driving.

The actress, who was represented by solicitor Nick "Mr Loophole" Freeman, entered the plea when she appeared at Macclesfield Magistrates' Court.

Knox, who plays Rita Tanner in the ITV soap, was charged following an incident in Knutsford, Cheshire, on March 10.

The 80-year-old was said to have been a passenger in a Jaguar vehicle driven by her daughter, Maxine Ashcroft, 56.

The car was stopped by police after a member of the public reported they thought the driver was under the influence of alcohol.

Ashcroft was found to be nearly three times over the legal limit when she gave a breathalyser reading at Middlewich police station.

The veteran actress later arrived at the station and was arrested herself on suspicion of drink-driving. A sample of her blood was taken which gave a alcohol reading of 85 micrograms per 100 milliletres of blood - the legal limit being 80.

She was bailed pending further inquiries and charged on April 4.

Ashcroft, from Lechlade, Gloucestershire, was banned from driving for two years in a hearing at the same court earlier this month.

At the start of the hearing, Knox, wearing a thick black overcoat, confirmed her name, date of birth and address.

In a soft voice, she told District Judge Bridget Knight that she understood the charge.

She added: "I am pleading not guilty."

She was later granted unconditional bail until the trial date of July 23 at the same court. The hearing was listed for two days.

A case management hearing will take place at Crewe Magistrates' Court on June 4 but the actress will not be required to attend.

Knox left the court with Mr Freeman and made no comment as she was driven away.

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