Liverpool player misled police over crash

NEIL RUDDOCK, the Liverpool football player, was fined £300 with £200 costs yesterday for obstructing a police inquiry into a crash involving his Porsche. Magistrates were told that one officer accused him of telling "blatant lies".

The central defender, aged 28, who was in the Anfield squad against Finland's MyPa-47 last night, is considering an appeal. Ruddock, in a statement read outside Southport Magistrates' Court by his solicitors, said the case had caused him, his family and Liverpool Football Club a great deal of distress and embarrassment.

The court was told that in January Ruddock spent all afternoon in The Grapes pub at Formby, celebrating a friend's birthday. Anthony Clarke, from Ainsdale, took the keys to Ruddock's £57,000 Porsche Carrera 911 for safe keeping. In the evening Mr Clarke showed the car to Lesley Richards, 17. He drove off at speed but lost control on the A565 Formby bypass. Witnesses said the car, which was written off, crossed the central reservation and hit trees.
PC Ian Barlow of Merseyside Police said that Ruddock, of Formby, Merseyside, twice told police that the car had been stolen. The footballer was arrested after providing a positive breath-test. Deborah Birrell, for the prosecution, said: "Police believed, erroneously, he was the driver."
On February 1, Ruddock had admitted to police he had given the car keys to Mr Clarke and had not told them. "I didn't want to get him into trouble," he said. "I didn't want to be a grass. I know I was wrong but I had had a few beers."

PC Barlow told Ruddock that his earlier statement had been blatant lies. He replied: "Not blatant lies. I just didn't tell you what I knew."

Clarke admitted obstructing the police, careless driving and driving without insurance. His case was adjourned until October 24. At a separate hearing, Richards, now 18, admitted obstructing police and was fined £50.

Reported by Kate Alderson of "The Times" 27.09.1996.

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