Tottenham Hotspur’s World Cup-winning goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was “lucky” not to knock down pedestrians or damage cars when driving erratically at the end of an evening in which he was “showered with drinks” at a restaurant, a court has heard.
The 31-year-old Frenchman caught police attention when he was spotted “veering” across Gloucester Place in central London in a new Porsche Panamera, doing 15mph in a 30mph zone, and going through a red light in the early hours of 24 August.
Westminster magistrates’ court heard officers spotted vomit in the car, which was carrying an unnamed passenger, while Lloris, of East Finchley in north London, had to be helped from the vehicle. He pleaded guilty to being more than two times the legal drink-drive limit and was fined £50,000.
Sentencing Lloris, magistrate Amanda Barron said the fine represented the seriousness of the offence as well as the goalkeeper’s financial means, although details of his salary were not disclosed in court. “This is a very serious offence, as you know,” she said. “Not only were you putting your own life at risk but also that of your passenger. It was pure luck that you did not cause damage to other vehicles or pedestrians in the central London area.”
Outlining the case, prosecutor Henry Fitch said: “Shortly before 2.20am, officers were on patrol in an unmarked vehicle when their attention was drawn to a Porsche – it was moving strangely and doing 15mph in a 30mph zone. It veered a number of times towards parked vehicles, nearly clipping them, before correcting itself. It then went through a red light.”
He said the officers saw there was a passenger in the front of the car and vomit nearby. Lloris was later “helped from the car”, and gave a sample containing 80 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit in England and Wales is 35mcg.
Defence counsel David Sonn said Lloris had been dining with “two friends” at a restaurant. He had initially booked a taxi but it cancelled, prompting Lloris to drive – something described by Mr Sonn as “the first of a number of unwise decisions”. Without mentioning the name of the restaurant or Lloris’s two guests, Mr Sonn said the player and his friends “were showered with hospitality, given the circumstances, not just by the restaurant but by others there, who were sending drinks to them”.
He added: “By 2am he was completely drunk. At that moment he should have left the vehicle where it was. But, as Mr Lloris pointed out to me, it is when you’re drunk you’re likely to make mistakes – that was to drive home.”
Mr Sonn also acknowledged his client’s fall from grace after being arrested. He said: “On 15 July he was arguably the proudest man on the planet – having captained France to the World Cup victory. Just 40 days later, he was arrested. He experienced the indignity of being handcuffed and put in a police station overnight. The spectacular fall from grace is not lost on Mr Lloris.”
Lloris, who wore a dark suit with no tie, spoke only to confirm his personal details and admit a charge of drink driving. He was fined £50,000, plus costs and a victim surcharge, and banned from driving for 20 months.
The magistrate said the punishment acknowledged the seriousness of the offence and the aggravating circumstances of having a passenger in the car, but also his admission at the earliest stage, including his statement released to the press shortly after his arrest.
Lloris, who made his way into the court building flanked by two members of his entourage, left the building without comment. His club, for whom Lloris has made more than 200 league appearances, also declined to comment.
After sentencing, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for charity Brake, said: “It is disappointing to see that someone who is a role model to many thousands of football fans has admitted breaking the law by drink-driving. We expect the captain of Tottenham Hotspur and his national team to be setting a good example, not flouting the law in such a manner. This kind of dangerous behaviour is selfish, illegal and puts lives at risk.”