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Friday 20 September 2019

'Arrogant' ex-striker Saunders freed from jail after one night

Ex-footballer Dean Saunders. Photo: PA
Ex-footballer Dean Saunders. Photo: PA

Former Liverpool striker Dean Saunders has been freed from jail one day into a 10-week sentence for failing to provide a breath specimen when stopped by police while driving.

The 55-year-old looked crestfallen when he realised he was going to jail on Wednesday after admitting at Chester Magistrates' Court to failing to comply with a roadside breath test and failing to provide a breath specimen.

Police had stopped him after spotting his car veering across the road in the early hours of last May 10 in Boughton, Chester.

Yesterday, his lawyers launched a bail application, held in private without access for press or public.

Judge Steven Everett granted Saunders bail until his app-eal against the jail sentence is heard on October 4, said the court clerk, who was app-roached after the hearing had ended and the court re-opened.

The details were confirmed by Saunders' solicitor, Conor Johnstone, who added: "Clearly, he will be relieved."

No bail conditions were imposed, Mr Johnstone said.

The father-of-three had been branded "arrogant" by District Judge Nicholas Sanders in passing sentence on Wednesday. He told Saunders he had shown no remorse and thought he was "above the law".

Shock

Lawyers for Saunders, who also played for Aston Villa and Derby County and was capped by Wales 75 times, said he was "in shock" at being jailed, and immediately said they would appeal against the sentence.

The talkSPORT radio football pundit had pleaded not guilty at an earlier hearing, but on Wednesday admitted two offences.

Saunders said he had been at Chester Races and had drunk three pints over the day before getting in his Audi A8 and deciding to drive, Chester Magistrates' Court heard.

He was seen shortly before 1am by a police patrol, weaving across the road, swerving to avoid other vehicles and nearly causing an accident.

Officers who arrested him said there was a smell of "intoxicants" and Saunders was slurring his speech. He had to steady himself against his car when he was asked to get out.

He refused three times to give a roadside breath test and was arrested.

Saunders again failed to provide a specimen at the police station.

He was likely to have served his sentence at HMP Altcourse in Liverpool, but is now free to return to his home in Whitegate, Cheshire.

He was also banned from driving for 30 months and ordered to pay court costs of £620 (€685).

Saunders' appeal against his sentence will be heard at Chester Crown Court on October 4.

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