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Ashley Cole sped at 104mph ‘because paparazzi were chasing him’

England footballer Ashley Cole has been found guilty of driving at more than 100mph in a 50mph zone.

The Chelsea star, who did not attend court for his trial, was in his black Lamborghini Gallardo on the A3 in Kingston, Surrey, when a speed gun recorded him driving at 104mph.

Cole denied the charge, claiming he was being chased by paparazzi at the time.

However, Magistrates' chairwoman Judith Jewell told Kingston Magistrates Court: “We find that we were convinced enough by the evidence given that he was travelling at 104mph.

“Our reasons are that we feel that the evidence of the police officer was credible, and we feel |entitled to believe that the equipment was operating properly.”

Yesterday’s sentencing was adjourned until the end of the month so that Cole could be present.

Ms Jewell warned he may be banned from driving.

Describing the events of November 17 2008, Richard Lomax, prosecuting, said: “The defendant was stopped and spoken to and the words he said at the time, when it became plain that somebody was pointing a speed camera at him, were: ‘Can't you do anything about those idiots who keep chasing me’?”

Cole (29) told police he thought he was driving at 80mph when he was stopped just after midday.

Mr Lomax said: “The Crown says there can be no other sensible construction of the words ut

tered by Mr Cole at the time than that he was conceding he was driving at a speed more than 50mph.

“It is plain that he found the attention of persons with cameras unwelcome and he was trying to get away from them.

“The only sensible inference therefore is that he was going too quickly.”

The fact that Cole, married to singer and presenter Cheryl Cole, may have been trying to avoid photographers was irrelevant, magistrates were told.

“It cannot be a defence to the offence of speeding that one is trying to get away in the circumstances of members of the Press showing excessive attention,” Mr Lomax added.

Traffic officer John Wills of Surrey Police, who was carrying out speed checks on Robin Hood Way that day, said he initially noticed Cole's car because “it seemed to be travelling considerably faster” than any other vehicle.

PC Wills and a colleague got in a police car after recording his speed and Cole pulled over in a nearby bus stop.

PC Wills told the court: “I asked him if he knew what the speed limit was on that stretch of road, and he replied 50mph.

“Then I asked him what speed he was doing, and he said 80mph. I pointed out he was doing considerably more than that and showed him the laser device.”

Cole will be sentenced at the court at 10am on January 29.

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