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Suspended jail term for footballer

Premier League footballer Jermaine Pennant has been given an eight-week jail sentence, suspended for a year, and has been disqualified from driving for three years after he admitted drink-driving.

The Stoke City player was more than twice the limit when he got behind the wheel of his BMW to drive back from Manchester in the early hours of April 29, Trafford Magistrates' Court heard.

The 29-year-old was "depressed and stressed" after months of turmoil in his private life and suffering taunts while in a nightclub, it was claimed.

Pennant, who admitted his third drink-drive conviction in eight years, had been dumped by text message by his girlfriend on the night of the offence and another ex and the mother of his 20-month-old child had not turned up to see him play earlier in the day.

He was driving home from the nightclub and was involved in a minor road accident before he was arrested at the scene.

The defendant was breath-tested and gave a reading of 89mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mg.

Pennant, of Pool Lane, Sandbach, Cheshire, had already been banned form driving earlier that month by magistrates in Cannock, Staffordshire, for totting up too many points on his licence.

But he was not aware that he was banned because the letter had not reached him, the court heard.

He admitted drink-driving, driving while disqualified, and driving without insurance. He was also fined £80 costs and given a 12-month supervision order.

Passing sentence, District Judge Khalid Qureshi told Pennant he accepted the defendant did not know he should not have been driving, but the previous convictions and high alcohol reading aggravated the offence.

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