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Ex-Premier League player admits drink driving in Islington

PUBLISHED: 12:35 23 March 2015 | UPDATED: 12:48 23 March 2015

Former Leeds United footballer Clarke Carlisle has pleaded guilty to a drink-driving offence Pic: Richard Sellers/PA

Former Leeds United footballer Clarke Carlisle has pleaded guilty to a drink-driving offence Pic: Richard Sellers/PA

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Clarke Carlisle, who played for Leeds, Burnley and QPR, attempted suicide following the offence in December

A former Leeds United footballer has pleaded guilty to a drink driving offence which saw him nearly hit a lorry in Islington.

Clarke Carlise, 35, previously chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association chairman who also played for Burnley and Queens Park Rangers, admitted failing to provide a sample at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court this morning.

During the incident in Pentonville Road on December 20, he had been spotted by police “swerving” his Mercedes and nearly hitting a lorry at about 7am.

Prosecutor Zahid Hussain said the car was seen “swerving in the lane, to the pavement on the nearside, almost mounting the pavement” and that the tyres were “grinding on the kerb”.

When the officers stopped and spoke to Carlisle “alcohol was smelled on his breath”, Mr Hussain added.

The court was told that Carlisle did not blow long enough in the breathalyser when he was tested at the roadside to provide an adequate sample.

He was taken to Islington police station but would not co-operate and said: “Sergeant, I would like to speak to my counsel first.”

Carlisle, still bearing the facial scars from his December 22 suicide attempt in a crash which left him in a coma until mid-January, spoke clearly as he stood in the dock.

He also pleaded guilty to a charge of driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence on the same date, when police officers spotted his car travelling in an “erratic” manner, Mr Hussain said.

Deputy District Judge Margaret Dodds told Carlisle that he would “inevitably” be disqualified when he next appears at the same court for sentencing on May 14.

She also ordered that reports be made in the case after being told of Carlisle’s medical situation.

The court was told that Carlisle had been involved in excess-drinking offences in 1999 and 2011.

Krystelle Wass, defending, told the court: “Two days after the incident Mr Carlisle attempted suicide, which is why matters have taken some time to come to court.”

She said there were “ongoing mental health issues”.

The deputy district judge replied that she would order reports ahead of the next hearing as “he is clearly in some trouble”.

The deputy district judge told Carlisle that he would get credit for his early guilty plea but noted that he has a “bad record”.

Carlisle was released on unconditional bail.

The former footballer, who was smartly dressed in a grey wool suit, said “Thank you, ma’m” as he stepped out of the dock.

He did not want to make further comment outside the court.

Since the incident Carlisle has said he felt he “had to die” after losing his job as a pundit on ITV, going on a gambling spree and being charged with the drink-driving offence of failing to provide a sample.

The case had previously been adjourned while Carlisle was treated in hospital after he jumped into the path of a 12-ton lorry on the A64 near York on December 22.


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