FORMER Liverpool ace Dean Saunders has won his appeal against a drink-driving jail sentence
The ex-Aston Villa striker, 55, was caged for ten weeks after refusing to be breathalysed by cops after sinking pints at the races – but only spent one day behind bars.
Cops had spotted him driving “erratically” in his £70,000 Audi A8 on May 10.
On Friday Judge Steven Everett, Honorary Recorder of Chester, quashed the immediate jail sentence and instead suspended the 10-week prison sentence for 18 months.
Footage showed Saunders slurring his speech as he propped himself up against the flash motor when police stopped him – but he claimed he had drunk just two pints at Chester Races.
He later claimed in a letter to magistrates his asthma prevented him blowing in the tube.
But Chester Crown Court heard Saunders, who was capped by Wales 75 times, hadn’t mentioned the condition during his arrest in Cheshire.
He was branded “arrogant” by District Judge Nicholas Sanders, who today jailed him for ten weeks after he admitted failing to comply with a roadside breath test when asked by officers.
The star, who now appears as a TV and radio pundit, was also banned from driving for 30 months and given a £620 fine after pleading guilty to failing to provide a breath sample for analysis.
He had initially denied both charges at an earlier hearing but pleaded guilty by letter before he was due to trial.
A separate charge of dangerous driving was dropped by the prosecution at Chester Magistrates’ Court.
At his trial, District Judge Sanders said: “Throughout these proceedings you have shown yourself to be arrogant, thinking you are someone whose previous and current role in the public eye entitles you to be above the law.
“In fact the opposite is true – someone in the public eye should expect a deterrent sentence when they flout the law.”
The court heard two police officers, PC Barlow and PC Smith, were on patrol when they spotted Saunders speeding and driving over white lines in the road.
His Audi almost hit a kerb and had to swerve to avoid hitting oncoming vehicle – causing the officers to pull him over to avoid a potential crash.
Bodycam footage taken at the time shows “an intoxicated person” who was “highly under the influence of alcohol” at the time, it was said.
The court heard Saunders was “slurring” his words and the officers found it “difficult to understand what he was saying”.
But when they asked for sample of breath at the roadside he refused and again failed to comply when taken to a police station.
Saunders claimed he’d drunk two pints of beer at the racecourse and a further pint later on at his hotel.
His lawyer suggested the two pints he claimed to have had may have “interacted” with the medication he takes for injury to his knees and his inhaler for his asthma.
The lawyer said Saunders was “disappointed” by the sentence he’d received.
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Saunders’ football career spanned nearly 20 years with stints at Aston Villa, Liverpool, Derby and Bradford.
He scored 22 goals in his 75 caps for Wales – making him the fourth highest scorer in the history of the Welsh national team.
Recently, he had spells managing Wrexham and Doncaster but was axed by Wolves in 2013 after relegating the club to the Championship.
In 2015, he lasted just six months at Chesterfield before being sacked.
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