Former Leicester footballer crashed borrowed car while drunk in Sutton

Mansfield Magistrates Court.
Mansfield Magistrates Court.

A League Two footballer from Sutton took his step-father’s car while drunk and crashed it into another car following a row with his girlfriend.

Thomas Parkes, 24, of Sunstone Grove, admitted driving whilst unfit through drink, aggravated vehicle taking and driving without insurance when he appeared before magistrates in Mansfield on Wednesday.

The court heard Parkes was driving a Renault Clio, at 2.45am on June 19, when he hit a Vauxhall Astra, parked on Leamington Drive.

The insurance on the car had run out two days before the crash, the court heard.

Chloe Griggs, prosecuting, said: “He says he knows that he didn’t have permission but he decided to take it anyway. He decided to drive to Sutton for a few more beers.

“Sometime after 2am he decided to drive home.”

A roadside breath test revealed he had 81 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath when the legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

Chris Lacey, mitigating, said: “My client has been trying to settle the issue of compensation because he feels guilty.”

Mr Lacey said Parkes had recently moved to Leyton Orient, after playing in Leicester, Burton and Bristol.

“His first conversation with his new manager has been ‘I have been prosecuted for drunk driving.’

“His worry is ‘I am going to be pigeon-holed.’

“He is only a young man. He is doing very well for himself. Because of the nature of his occupation it carries a bad press.

“He doesn’t want to pay his way out of other punishments.”

However, Mr Lacey said that an electronic tag would prevent Parkes from contacting his family, as he was currently living in a hotel in London.

“If he does unpaid work - because of the nature of what he does - there is going to be an argument that he attracts a degree of publicity,” said Mr Lacey, and asked the court to consider a financial penalty.

Cheryl Nisbet, of the probation service, said: “I can see no reason why he can’t do unpaid work. I have explained to him that his job isn’t a reason not to do it.”

Magistrates imposed a 12-month community order on Parkes with 200 hours of unpaid work. He was banned from driving for 21 months.

He was offered a 16 hour drink drive rehabilitation course which would reduce the ban by 160 days if completed before December 3 2017.

He was ordered to pay court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £85.