Belfast Telegraph

Watch: Ant McPartlin 'very sorry' after pleading guilty to drink-driving

TV presenter Ant McPartlin has been fined £86,000 at Wimbledon Magistrates' Court.

The 42-year-old admitted he was more than twice the legal limit after his black Mini collided with two other cars in Richmond, west London on March 18.

He was also banned from driving for 20 months.

Speaking on the court steps following sentencing McPartlin said: “I just want to say I’m truly sorry for what happened.

“High standards are expected of me, I expect them of myself. I’ve let myself down, I let a lot of people down. And for that I am truly sorry.

“I’d like apologise to everybody involved in the crash and I’m just thankful no-one was seriously hurt.”

McPartlin was met by a waiting pack of photographers and television cameras when he arrived at court on Monday.

He stepped out of a black Mercedes people carrier to face the media scrum as he walked up the steps at the main entrance to the court building in south-west London, which was guarded by seven police officers.

Wearing a black, three-piece suit, white shirt and black tie, McPartlin stood in the glass dock in court, sporting a light beard.

He spoke to confirm his name, date of birth, address and nationality before pleading guilty to a single charge of drink-driving.

The charge states he had 75 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, the legal limit is 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath.

Prosecutor Katie Sinnett-Jones told the court the incident happened at around 3.50pm on March 18 on Lower Richmond Road.

She said Mr McPartlin was driving around a "sharp bend and lost control" at which point he ended up on the wrong side of the road.

He collided with another Mini Cooper car before driving "straight into the front of an oncoming car".

McPartlin's vehicle "came to a halt and was no longer driveable due to the damage caused" she said. Members of the public called the police.

The driver of the Mini car said afterwards, the court heard, that they thought they would die in the collision.

He said, in a statement read by Ms Sinnett-Jones: "Myself and my family were in deep shock as we believed we could have died as as a result of Mr McPartlin's reckless driving."

McPartlin's barrister Liam Walker said his client had been seeking help for "alcohol and emotional issues" at the time of the crash, adding that his mother was in the car with him.

He told the district judge the incident was down to "a brief relapse unbeknownst to his passenger".

"Anthony McPartlin is sorry and is doing everything he can to ensure this never happens again," Mr Walker said.

"He hopes that in time he can make himself better and that he might be forgiven by all of the many people he knows and he feels he has let down terribly."

The court heard that in a statement to police McPartlin said: "I am very sorry I did this.

"I am ashamed and mortified that this happened.

"I accept full culpability for this and wish to apologise to all those concerned."

"Through me, Mr McPartlin wishes to express both sorrow and regret over his actions," Mr Walker said.

"He is sorry, but not sorry because he is here.

"He knows it is right that he's here and he hopes that which has led him here will eventually help him," the lawyer continued.

"But for good fortune the consequences could have been worse. He feels the guilt that is reflected in his plea."

Mr Walker spoke of McPartlin's "exemplary" character and charitable work, especially focusing on organisations that help children.

"Mr McPartlin is lucky to have both family and long-time friends to support him," he added.

District Judge Barbara Barnes told McPartlin "you are a well-known and successful entertainer," whose weekly income is around £130,000 a week.

Sentencing him, she said: "At the time when it happened you were struggling with various personal problems and also alcohol issues for some months.

"This incident happened, sadly, when it seems you suffered a brief relapse."

The judge described McPartlin's previous "exemplary character" adding: "I think it will have quite an impact on you to know you're no longer a man of good character."

Fining him, she said: "Because of the seriousness of this offence, the financial pain must be imposed on you as on any other offender."

McPartlin was also told to pay £255 in costs.

The TV presenter, who lives in Chiswick, west London, was arrested at around 4pm on March 18 after failing a roadside breathalyser test following a collision between the Mini he was driving and two other cars.

The Metropolitan Police previously confirmed that a number of individuals were treated at the scene for minor injuries, and a child passenger from one of the cars was taken to hospital to be checked as a precaution.

After he was charged, ITV announced the Saturday Night Takeaway host would step back from his TV commitments, with co-presenter Declan Donnelly hosting the final two episodes of the show on his own.

McPartlin appeared alongside Donnelly on TV screens over the weekend as Britain's Got Talent aired its pre-recorded audition shows.

But ITV confirmed Donnelly will be hosting the live shows without his TV partner of almost 30 years.

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