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Derby pair spared jail after drink-driving incident

Derby pair spared jail after drink-driving incident
© Reuters
The district judge imposed a 12-month community order on each defendant and banned them from driving for two years.

Derby pair Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett have avoided prison after they admitted drink-driving over a crash which left their club captain seriously injured.

Wales international Lawrence and Bennett were detained by police after the incident on the A6 near Allestree, Derby, shortly before midnight on September 24.

Both players admitted drink-driving and failing to stop at the scene of an accident when they appeared at Derby Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

District Judge Jonathan Taaffee had warned the players that a prison sentence was an option but the men walked free from court after probation services told the hearing of concerns they would struggle in custody.

Slovakia v Wales – UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying – Group E – Anton Malatinsky Stadium
Tom Lawrence has won 20 caps for Wales (Tim Goode/PA)

He imposed a 12-month community order on both defendants, ordering them to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work, and banned them from driving for two years.

The judge told them both: "You are extremely fortunate to be here today.

"You had been drinking and have been involved in a road traffic collision that could have led to death."

He said: "You are both intelligent and talented young men who have brought shame upon yourselves, your family, your profession and your club."

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Mason Bennett is a product of the Derby youth academy (Tim Goode/PA)

Mr Taaffe said Derby fans would be "incredulous" at what they had done.

Midfielder Lawrence, 25, recorded a breath test reading of 58 microgrammes per 100ml and forward Bennett, 23, recorded a level of 64. The legal limit is 35.

Club captain Richard Keogh suffered a serious leg injury in the crash, involving a Range Rover Sport and a Mercedes, and could be ruled out for the rest of the season.

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Tom Lawrence in action for Derby County on October 5, 2019
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