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Ant McPartlin receives record-breaking fine after pleading guilty to drink driving

The TV star was involved in a three-car collision on 21 March

Gemma Strong

Ant McPartlin has been sentenced to a £86,000 fine, and banned from driving for 20 months after pleading guilty to drink driving during a hearing at Wimbledon Magistrates' Court. It's believed to be Britain's biggest ever drink driving fine. The 42-year-old TV presenter, who the court heard earns £130,000 a week, was dressed in a smart black suit and tie, and kept his head down as he walked past waiting members of the press as he arrived for the hearing shortly before 2pm on Monday 16th April. The court heard that at the time of his arrest, Ant had 75mg of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath - twice the legal limit. In a witness statement, the driver of one of the cars said he and his wife "could have died as a result of Mr McPartlin's reckless driving". Ant's defence team reitereated his sorrow and regret for what had happened, adding that Ant had acknowledged he has fallen short of the expectations placed on him. They further noted that the difficulty and distress that came with the breakdown of his marriage to wife Lisa Armstrong, along with the added impact of being under constant public scrutiny, had taken its toll.

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Ant McPartlin pictured arriving at Wimbledon Magistrates' Court

The TV star managed to avoid a prison sentence, but received a considerable fine and a driving ban. In summary, District Judge Barnes said she had to "consider the seriousness and gravity" of the offence but noted that Ant had shown "genuine remorse" and had taken "immediate action" to address his issues. Immediately after the hearing, Ant emerged from court to give a brief statement. In a hushed voice, he said,"I let myself down, I let a lot of people down. For that I'm truly sorry", adding: "I would like to apologise to everyone involved in the crash."

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Ant was arrested on 21 March after failing a breathalyser test, following a three-vehicle collision. He was originally scheduled to appear in court on 4 April, however, his hearing was adjourned. It's not known exactly why Ant's court date was postponed – but it has been reported that the judges agreed to delay the hearing to give Ant more time to complete the 'intensive' phase of his rehab.

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Following his arrest, Ant's publicist confirmed that the star would be taking time off from his TV commitments "for the foreseeable future" and would be seeking further treatment. Ant was absent for the final two episodes of Saturday Night Takeaway, with co-host and best friend Declan Donnelly taking the reins, and will not appear in the upcoming live episodes of Britain's Got Talent. It is not yet known whether he will return to TV in time to host I'm A Celebrity later on this year.

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