Belfast Telegraph

David Beckham banned from driving for six months for using mobile phone

The ex-footballer was spotted in his Bentley by a member of the public.

Football star David Beckham arriving at Bromley Magistrates’ Court (Victoria Jones/PA)
Football star David Beckham arriving at Bromley Magistrates’ Court (Victoria Jones/PA)

David Beckham has been banned from driving for six months after a member of the public photographed him using his mobile phone while driving a Bentley in London’s West End.

The football star, 44, previously pleaded guilty to using the device while driving in Great Portland Street, after being spotted by a member of the public on November 21.

His case was initially considered at Bromley Magistrates’ Court last month, through an administrative process known as a single justice procedure, which is not open to the press or public.

Beckham, who appeared in the same court wearing a dark grey suit and tie, was told by District Judge Catherine Moore that he would be disqualified as she gave him six additional points to the six he already had for previous speeding matters.

The star stood in the well of the court behind his legal representation to say his full name, date of birth and his west London address.

A large group of photographers was gathered outside the court as he arrived, while punters in the pub opposite pressed their faces against the window to catch a glimpse of the star.

Prosecutor Matthew Spratt said Beckham was photographed by a member of public as he drove in “slowly moving” traffic while holding a phone.

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Football star David Beckham leaving Bromley Magistrates Court (Victoria Jones/PA)

He said: “Instead of looking straight forward, paying attention to the road, he appeared to be looking at his lap.”

He added: “He (the witness) says that the defendant was operating a handheld device at knee level. At that moment a photograph was taken.

“The defendant was holding the mobile phone in the upright position.”

Gerrard Tyrrell, mitigating, said his client was travelling slowly and has “no recollection of the day in question or this particular incident”.

He added: “There is no excuse for what took place but his view is as he cannot remember… he’s going to plead guilty and that’s what he’s done.”

Mr Tyrrell told the court that Beckham finds driving a relaxing pastime.

He said: “He likes driving and he drives a lot and that’s something he finds relaxing.

“He takes his children to school each day when he can and he picks them up when he can, and actually to deprive them of that is something that he will acknowledge.”

Ms Moore was told how Beckham had six points already on his driving licence for speeding.

The first offence occurred in February 2016, while the latter took place in January 2018.

Beckham accepted he drove a loaned Bentley at 59mph in a 40mph zone in west London in January last year but avoided prosecution after enlisting the services of celebrity lawyer Nick Freeman, who is dubbed Mr Loophole.

Beckham did not face further action because a notice of intended prosecution was not received until one day after the statutory 14-day time limit.

Mr Freeman also assisted Beckham in overturning an eight-month driving ban in 1999 after arguing that the footballer was trying to escape a paparazzi photographer.

Ms Moore told Beckham on Thursday that she acknowledged the slow pace of the traffic during the November offence in central London but added that there was “no excuse” under the law.

Addressing a standing Beckham, she said: “I am therefore required to disqualify you from driving.”

Beckham was also fined £750, reduced from £1,000 on account of his early guilty plea.

She ordered him to pay £100 to prosecution costs and a £75 surcharge fee within seven days.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at Brake, the road safety charity, said using a phone behind the wheel was “simply dangerous and can never be condoned”.

He said: “Those who ignore the law and use a phone while driving, as Mr Beckham has done, selfishly put lives in danger and deserve to be punished accordingly.

“A single moment’s inattention behind the wheel can have catastrophic and lifelong consequences and so we urge everyone to put their phone on silent and out of reach when driving.”

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