I’ve let myself down and I’m truly sorry. I’d like to apologise to everybody ...and I’m just thankful no one was seriously hurt
Star’s record £86,000 fine after drink-drive crash
ANT McPartlin has been sentenced for his “mortifying” alcohol-fuelled car crash, in which a terrified child told his mother: “I’m dying.”
The TV presenter, 42, was yesterday fined £86,000, believed to be a record for a drink-driving offence.
Magistrates heard McPartlin had been more than twice the limit when he took a corner “like a rocket” and swerved into two cars carrying young children.
The driver of the first vehicle he hit said his family feared for their lives.
McPartlin then collided head-on with a BMW, driven by a doctor and her son, nine.
The driver, named only Dr Ng, said she instantly looked at the boy, who said: “I’m dying, Mummy, I’m dying.”
She added in a statement: “I saw he was physically fine with no major injuries, but in shock. He described how the car was coming around the corner ‘like a rocket’.” Speaking on the court steps following sentencing, McPartlin said: “I just want to say I’m truly sorry for what happened.
“High standards are expected of me, I expect them of myself. I’ve let myself down, I let a lot of people down.
“I’d like apologise to everybody involved in the crash and I’m just thankful no one was seriously hurt.”
The Saturday Night Takeaway host had been drinking without telling his mum, Christine Woodhall, who was in the passenger seat at the time of the crash in Richmond, South West London. Prosecutor Katie Sinnett-Jones told Wimbledon magistrates court that McPartlin’s black Mini was a write-off after the star lost control as he drove around a sharp bend at “considerable speed” on March 18.
He hit Faheen Vanoo’s Mini Cooper before driving “straight into the front of an oncoming car”, Dr Ng’s BMW.
Several people were treated at the scene for minor injuries. Days later, McPartlin told police: “I am ashamed and mortified. I accept full culpability.”
Dr Ng said: “I’m horrified someone can drive so dangerously. I genuinely thought the driver of the black Mini had died.” Mr Vanoo’s statement said: “Myself and my family were in deep shock as we believed we could have died.” Wearing a black three-piece suit and tie McPartlin, of Chiswick, West London, listened intently and nodded in the dock as the case against him was outlined.
He spoke only to say “guilty” in a low voice and confirm his personal details.
Issuing the fine and a 20-month road ban, District Judge Barbara Barnes said his crime was aggravated by the fact he drank so much then put others at risk.
She told the £130,000-a-week entertainer he had “let down so many people”, adding: “I think it will have quite an impact on you to know you are no longer a man of good character.”
McPartlin’s solicitor Liam Walker said he had a “brief relapse unbeknownst to his passenger”. He said his client had struggled as his 11-year relationship – with TV make-up artist Lisa Armstrong – broke down and was getting treatment for “alcohol and emotional issues”.
He added: “He’s doing everything he can so this never happens again.” McPartlin’s fine eclipses the £54,000 imposed on Manchester City’s Yaya Toure in 2016 for drink-driving, reported at the time as the biggest sanction of its kind in the UK.
I have let myself and a lot of people down, I’m truly sorry ANT MCPARTLIN AFTER SENTENCING YESTERDAY
PAINED McPartlin at court yesterday
GUILTY TV’s Ant McPartlin yesterday Picture: ADAM GERRARD COURT Sketch of Ant in dock WRITE-OFF Ant gets out of wrecked Mini SHAME How we told of crash
APOLOGY Ant leaves court in Wimbledon after sentence
SHOCK Driver Faheem Vanoo and family