Football captain nets road ban after drink-drive crash in South Shields

Two men have appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court today charged with rape as part of a sexual exploitation investigation.
Two men have appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court today charged with rape as part of a sexual exploitation investigation.

A female football player who caused a three car pile-up after getting behind the wheel while more than double the drink-drive limit has netted a lengthy road ban.

Jade Ridley, who skippered Middlesbrough Ladies Football Club last season, wrote off her Fiat 500 car after crashing into the back of a BMW in a moment of ‘absolute madness’ following a boozy night out.

This was a moment of absolute madness.

Joanne Gatens

The 29-year-old, from Monet Gardens, South Shields, had drank four pints of lager and a cocktail while out with pals at a string of pubs in the town.

She had arranged to get a taxi home at the end of the evening before making a ‘serious error of judgement’ and making the journey in her car.

Ridley collided with the BMW - causing it to shunt forward into a Vauxhall Astra in front of it - as she approached a set of traffic lights in Sunderland Road, South Shields.

Police and the ambulance service were alerted to the road smash and the drivers of the three cars were spoken to at the scene, with Ridley recording a positive breath test.

She was taken to South Tyneside Hospital after suffering injuries in the collision before a blood sample was taken in which she recorded a reading of 220mg of alcohol - more than double the legal limit of 80mg.

Ridley admitted driving with excess alcohol when she appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

Claire Irving, prosecuting, said; “At 10.30pm on March 18, the defendant was driving a Fiat 500 on Sunderland Road, approaching traffic lights, when she crashed into the back of a BMW, which then hit an Astra vehicle, causing a rear end shunt.

“Police and the ambulance service were called and all three drivers were spoken to, with the defendant recording a positive breath test.

“She was taken to South Tyneside Hospital after the crash and a blood sample was taken which was over the legal limit for alcohol.”

Joanne Gatens, defending, said: “This was a moment of absolute madness.

“She made arrangements to go home in a taxi and can’t explain why she drove home.

“She is deeply remorseful and fully understands the risks she put herself and other road users under on that night.

“She made a serious error of judgement.”

Ridley, who played as captain during last season in the team which won the Northern FA Women’s Premier League Northern Division One title, has never previously appeared in court.

Probation officer Peter Wilkinson told the court Ridley would be suitable for unpaid work.

He said: “She has played for Middlesbrough Ladies for three years.

“She is a young woman who would be able to complete unpaid work.”

Gerald Tierney, chair of the magistrates, said; “You realise this wasn’t the brightest thing to do that evening.

“You have been up-front about that and know there is no excuse.”

Ridley was banned from driving for two years and ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work.

She must also pay £85 court costs and an £60 victim surcharge.