Court looks Strictly on rugby star’s speeding fine appeal

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A FORMER England rugby star and Strictly Come Dancing contestant, who failed to tell the police who was driving when his Mercedes was caught speeding in Sheffield, has lost his appeal against his conviction.

Austin Healey, aged 39, claimed a notice of intended prosecution, sent to him by the South Yorkshire Camera Safety Partnership, got lost in the post - and that he misunderstood the deadline on a final warning.

The married dad-of-four appeared at Sheffield Crown Court after he was convicted by Sheffield magistrates in his absence in August.

Chris Neale, prosecuting, said Healey’s black Mercedes E63 was snapped at 48mph in a 40mph zone on the A61 Halifax Road at Grenoside on November 4 last year.

A letter was sent asking for the driver’s details, giving him 28 days to respond.

He replied a day late to a second letter which had given him a further seven days.

Healey said the car was being driven by a friend, Anthony Campbell.

He said: “I was lying down in the back. I wasn’t aware a camera had gone off. We were at a charity event in Manchester and he was driving me over to Sheffield for another charity event the next day.”

He said the first letter must have got lost in the post but he sometimes had problems with his mail as he lives in the countryside near Leicester.

The second letter arrived while he was abroad, and he mistakenly thought he had 28 days to respond.

Dismissing the appeal, Judge Peter Kelson QC said: “We are satisfied so that we are sure he did not send in his notice as soon as reasonably practicable.”

Healey was fined £600, plus £455 costs and a £15 victim surcharge, and his licence was endorsed with three points at the original hearing.

He must also now pay appeal costs of £520.