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'Ashamed' Ant fined £86k over drink-drive smash that injured girl

ANT McPartlin today said he was “truly sorry” for the crash that left a four-year-old girl injured as he was fined £86,000 – the biggest drink-drive fine ever in the UK. The troub…

ANT McPartlin today said he was "truly sorry" for the crash that left a four-year-old girl injured as he was fined £86,000 - the biggest drink-drive fine ever in the UK.

The troubled  TV star apologised profusely for "letting people down" after he was also handed a 20-month driving ban over the Richmond crash last month.

�2018 Stephen Lock / i-Images

Ant McPartlin said he was 'truly sorry' over what had happened as he left court

Speaking outside of court, he said that he was "truly sorry for what happened", saying: "I let myself down".

The 42-year-old presenter, who is worth £60m, admitted he had "alcohol and emotional issues" after pleading guilty to being twice the drink-driving limit at Wimbledon Magistrates Court.

Begging the public for forgiveness, McPartlin had earlier told the court he was "ashamed and mortified", saying in a statement: "I accept full culpability for this and wish to apologise to all concerned.

"I'm incredibly disappointed that I've let myself and so many others down on this occasion."

Andrew Parsons

The TV presenter said he had let himself down

Andrew Parsons

The TV presenter admitted in court he was struggling with a number of emotional and alcohol issues

�2018 Stephen Lock / i-Images

The Saturday Night Takeaway host must now work to re-establish his career

�2018 Stephen Lock / i-Images

Ant arriving in court this afternoon, where he pleaded guilty to drink-driving

The £86,000 fine is believed to be the biggest ever penalty for drink-driving and is based on McPartlin's £130,000 a week pay cheque.

The huge fine dwarfs the largest fine previously recorded in the UK - with a penalty of £54,000 handed down to Yaya Toure in December 2016 after he admitted to driving while under the influence.

McPartlin today tried to draw a line under the horror incident as he told magistrates he was guilty and ready to take his punishment.

The troubled star said he was was seeking help to "address the problems that he has in order to overcome them - and ensure they never happen again."

He added that he recognised he needed to set a "positive example" to others as he was in the public eye.

The Saturday Night Takeaway presenter, of Chiswick, was more than twice the legal alcohol limit - with 75mg in his bloodstream - when his black John Cooper special edition Mini ploughed into two cars in Richmond, South West London on March 18.

The Sun

Ant's black Mini first hit a green Mini before crashing into a red BMW

The Sun

A four-year-old girl had to be hospitalised after the crash


Ant and Dec in their last pre-recorded skit

The court was told how other people involved in the crash had been left fearing "they could have died" - with a nine-year-old screaming to his mother: "I'm dying mummy, I'm dying mummy".

In sentencing, District Judge Barbara Barnes told McPartlin: "At the time when it happened you were struggling with various personal problems and also alcohol issues for some months.

"This incident happened, sadly, when it seems you suffered a brief relapse."

She added: "I think it will have quite an impact on you to know you're no longer a man of good character."

But in a dramatic coincidence, three cars crashed live on TV outside court today just before Ant released his statement.

McPartlin, who is also in the process of divorcing his wife of 11 years, Lisa, must now work to rebuild his career after the crash.

After he was charged, ITV announced the Saturday Night Takeaway host would step back from his TV commitments, with co-presenter Declan Donnelly hosting the final two episodes of the show on his own.

McPartlin appeared alongside Donnelly on TV screens over the weekend as Britain's Got Talent aired its pre-recorded audition shows.

A pal previously told The Sun that Ant knows he has to "face the music".

They said: "He is obviously gutted about the whole thing and wants to focus on getting better.

"He has a lot to do to prove himself again. Hopefully this is the first step.”

� Julia Quenzler

A court sketch shows a sombre McPartlin

Ant McPartlin's car was searched by police after the crash

Ant stands dazed next to the smashed Mini on in Richmond, south west London

Getty Images - Getty

The TV star was surrounded by media as he walked into court today

Shilpa, whose face hit headrest, with daughter Amaira and husband Faheem after Ant smashed into the family's green car

It is believed the crash happened after Ant attempted to overtake another car on a bend and lost control.

Four-year-old Amaira Dandekar was in one of the cars with mum Shilpa, dad Faheem Vanoo and had to be taken to hospital as a precaution after the crash.

In the aftermath, restaurant boss Faheem told The Sun: "I don’t care whether he’s a millionaire and I don’t care whether he’s a famous TV star — he could have put my daughter in a wheelchair.”

Ant's driver's side front wheel was torn off and the two dogs - including Ant's chocolate labrador Hurley - in the back were left whimpering and shivering in shock.

Ant’s mum Christine was in the passenger seat at the time.

Shilpa is a top chef who worked with Raymond Blanc and the family had two colleagues in the car with them at the time.

Ant first went into rehab in the summer for drink and prescription drug addictions but returned for more treatment following the crash.

Britain’s Got Talent boss Simon Cowell told The Sun that Ant will be able to return to the talent show next year.