The model ex-wife of football star Michael Chopra pleaded exceptional hardship against a speeding ban - saying she wouldn’t be able to send her son to school in a taxi.
Heather Swan made the revelations when she appeared in the dock last week facing a driving disqualification over being caught speeding.
At Newcastle Magistrates’ Court she claimed that ex Chopra is too skint to pay for taxis because he’s on the verge of bankruptcy.
The mum-of-one who runs her own business was handed three points after being caught doing 36mph in a 30 zone but already had nine on her licence, meaning she faced an automatic six-month ban under the totting-up rules.
But the model pleaded exceptional hardship, claiming she wouldn’t be able to get her four-year-old son to his school in Newcastle, from her home 10 miles away in Medburn, near Ponteland.
Chopra, who grew up in Gosforth, Newcastle, admitted last year he gambled away up to £2m and played through injury to cover a debt hanging over him from his time playing in Newcastle.
The striker signed for Ipswich Town from Cardiff last year and was given a £250,000 bail-out by the club towards paying off gambling debts.
Then manager Paul Jewell also sent the 28-year-old for a three-week stint in residential rehab to try to address his problems, which he described as an illness.
Swan, whose own online luxury shoe business Swanblanc went into liquidation earlier this year, also said that the home she shares with her son, which was bought for £850,000 in February 2008, had been on the market for considerably less for two years and hadn’t sold, meaning she couldn’t move houses to be closer to her son’s school.
According to property websites the house was last put on the market in February 2011 for £795,000.
The 30-year-old estimated it would cost her £80 a day in taxi fares to ferry her son to-and-from school.
She told the court that, without her licence, she and her son would be forced to walk three miles in the dark across fields or country roads to get to their nearest bus stop in Ponteland. Paul Clark, prosecuting, asked Swan if her husband could pay the taxi fares.
Swan replied: “My ex-husband has his own financial difficulties and actually could be on the verge of bankruptcy himself.”
THE CASE OF KAZENGA LUA LUA ...
Former Newcastle United winger Kazenga Lua Lua (accused of sparking a brawl outside a nightclub), yesterday told a court he “had nothing to do with violence that night”.
Lua Lua, who now plays for Brighton and Hove Albion, also said he was “not an arrogant man” and “did not do anything wrong”.
Lua Lua and friends Andy Mogwo and Kevin Ashong are accused of affray, but deny the charges.
The 22-year-old said that after leaving the Riverside club on Newcastle Quayside in June last year, he walked between two white males.
He told the court that one of them said he should have said ‘excuse me’, but he told the man not to tell him what to do and walked through them again.
Newcastle Crown Court heard from Lua Lua that the white male then pushed him to the ground, so he got up and tapped him in the face.
But James Adkin, prosecuting, said: “You were being provocative.
“Instead of apologising, you were deliberately provocative.
“Do you think different rules apply to you?
“Are you the sort of person who thinks he can do what he wants?”
Lua Lua said that after the altercation, a group of white men surrounded him, but a friend pulled him away before a large-scale fight broke out.
He said: “When a black man is surrounded by white people like that, you don’t know what will happen to you.”
When Mr Adkin questioned him about his position as a footballer, he said: “I had nothing to do with the violence that took place that night.
“I did nothing wrong. I’m not an arrogant man, I’m a normal person.”
Lua Lua told the court he had drunk seven vodka Red Bulls that night, but was only slightly drunk.
He also said that he did not know how the big fight had begun.
* The trial continues.
Source: Newcastle United Mad