Derby County duo Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett avoid jail after drink-drive incident

Derby County footballers Mason Bennett and Tom Lawrence have avoided jail.

Derby County footballers Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett have avoided jail for their roles in a crash in September.

Both Lawrence and Bennett pleaded guilty to the charges of drink-driving and failing to stop at the scene of an accident earlier on Tuesday.

They were both banned from driving for two years and told to complete 180 hours of unpaid work.

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.

The crash, which occurred last month in Derby's Allestree area, also saw Derby’s club captain Richard Keogh ‘very seriously’ injured and ruled out for the remainder of the 2019-20 season. The 33-year-old risks having his career cut short by the injury.

READ MORE: Derby County captain Richard Keogh could be out of action until December 2020 after incident

READ MORE: Derby fine Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett six weeks' wages after drink-driving charge

The crash in the Allestree area of Derby, where Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett of Derby County were arrested. (SWNS)
Derby County footballer Tom Lawrence arrived at Derby Magistrates' Court, where he pleaded guilty to the charges.
He was accompanied by team-mate Mason Bennett (closest to camera).

District Judge Jonathan Taaffe, sentencing, said: “Your club have stood by you in circumstances when many employers would have dismissed you instantly.

“You have brought shame upon yourselves, your family, your profession and your club.

“The most aggravating factor is that you left the scene when a fellow professional was injured in the back of one of the vehicles.”

The court heard on Tuesday how former Derby manager Frank Lampard and Wales boss Ryan Giggs gave references for Lawrence.

The court was also told how Lawrence’s mum, who was “central to his sporting excellence” died in May this year - which led him to be “quite dependent” on alcohol for confidence issues.

Shaun Draycott, defending Lawrence, said: “He (Lawrence) is a decent young man, his behaviour was out of character and has a very good future for him”.

“He made a gross, gross error of judgement a matter he extremely regrets.”

Mason Bennett, left, and Tom Lawrence, right, were sentenced after pleading guilty on Tuesday. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Derby captain Keogh's career is in doubt after the accident. (Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Lucy Whitaker, defending, told the court Bennett regretted his actions - after being “peer-pressured” into having alcohol.

She said: “He accepts he had some alcohol at that point and consumes a Jager Bomb that was bought for him which made him sick.

“It wasn’t bought by him, but from a teammate. He didn’t want it but felt peer pressured to have it.”

Earlier this month, the football club fined the pair the “equivalent of six weeks’ wages” and condemned them for bringing the club into disrepute following the “alcohol-related incident” of September 24.

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