Darron Gibson faces jail as he admits latest drink-drive charge
Londonderry-born footballer Darron Gibson has been told he faces prison after he pleaded guilty to a second drink-drive charge in less than three years.
The 30-year-old was three times over the limit when he smashed his Mercedes 4x4 into parked cars on March 17, South Tyneside Magistrates Court was told.
Gibson, who switched allegiance from Northern Ireland to play for the Republic, was playing for Sunderland at the time.
The incident in Sunderland followed a serious collision in 2015 when his car hit three cyclists who were fixing a wheel on the pavement.
The court heard how he knocked the wing mirror off a taxi in West Boldon, but carried on and smashed into parked cars in Dovedale Road, Fulwell, Sunderland, as he drove to the club's training ground.
His grey 4x4 ended up on the pavement and the road was strewn with debris.
The taxi driver had followed him thinking that Gibson would stop to swap details, but the footballer - who also played for Manchester United and Everton - carried on for some distance until the final series of collisions.
Chairman of the bench David Randall said there was a suspicion the footballer had come off the main road and was using a back road through an estate after the initial collision.
The magistrate said the offence was aggravated by the length of time over which it occurred and the footballer's failure to stop or report the damage caused to the taxi.
He said: "Mr Gibson, this is the second offence in less than three years."
Aggravating factors included the damaged caused to the parked vehicles.
Speaking about sentencing, Mr Randall said: "We feel this aggravates it into the custody band."
Gibson will be sentenced on May 25 after medical reports are provided. Sunderland terminated his contract after he was charged following the St Patrick's Day crash.
Rebecca Laverick, prosecuting, said an initial roadside breath test recorded 105 microgrammes of alcohol per 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35mcg.
When he was formally tested again at a police station he was found to have 95mcg of alcohol per 100ml and he was charged using that figure.
Mrs Laverick said: "The defendant was spoken to at the roadside, officers established he was under the influence.
"He said he had two drinks the night before. That didn't coincide with the manner he was presenting in, his speech was slurred and he smelled of alcohol," she added.
Henry Blackshaw, defending, said Gibson was undergoing treatment for "underlying medical causes" at the time of this collision and the 2015 smash.
Gibson, from Hale, Cheshire, was handed an interim disqualification and granted unconditional bail ahead of sentence.