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Fine and ban for drink-driver Knox

Coronation Street actress Barbara Knox has been banned from the wheel for one year after she admitted drink-driving.

The 81-year-old, who plays Rita Tanner in the ITV soap, was caught over the limit after she drove to a police station to see her daughter who an hour earlier had been stopped for the same offence when the actress was a passenger.

Knox, of Mere, Cheshire, was given "firm advice" not to get back into her car when officers at Knutsford police station noted she appeared to be intoxicated.

She was also said to have been offered a lift home but declined and was seen to get into a Jaguar at a nearby supermarket car park.

The court heard she reversed the car a short distance before she was stopped by police.

Knox went on to give a sample of blood which gave an alcohol reading of 85 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood - the legal limit is 80.

The actress, represented by solicitor Nick "Mr Loophole" Freeman, had previously denied the offence last April and was due to go on trial next month.

At a previous hearing last year, it was said by Mr Freeman that Knox claimed she was "physically manhandled" by officers before she was charged.

She was said to be in "a highly emotionally charged state" when she was taken into custody. The actress had earlier been driven home by an officer when her daughter was stopped at the roadside.

It was said on her behalf today that she "bitterly regrets" committing the offence.

Last year, as Knox continued to maintain her innocence, District Judge Bridget Knight told the court: "This is actually a very simple case being made very complicated and expensive."

In relation to the "manhandling" claim, she added: "It's all by the by ... I'm not here for tittle tattle, it may be of interest to some but it's not relevant to the case."

Knox was also today fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £1,750 costs and a £120 victim surcharge

A spokesman for the soap said it was "a private and personal matter".

The hearing had been listed for a trial at Crewe Magistrates' Court on February 9 but the matter was brought forward to today at the same court.

Knox was being driven home by her daughter, Maxine Ashcroft, from a family gathering on March 10 last year when their car was stopped in Knutsford.

Police intervened after a member of the public reported that they thought the driver was under the influence of alcohol.

Ashcroft, from Lechlade, Gloucestershire, was found to be nearly three times the legal limit.

She went on to plead guilty at the first available opportunity and was banned from driving for two years.

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