London: Former Republic of Ireland and Sunderland star Darron Gibson has been spared prison despite admitting a second serious drink-driving offence.
Gibson's contract with Sunderland was terminated in March after he smashed his Mercedes 4x4 into a taxi and five parked cars while on his way to the club's training ground.
The 30-year-old wept during the hearing at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court, where it was said he had used sleeping tablets and drunk from a litre bottle of vodka the night before the crash.
A roadside test recorded him having 105mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath - reduced at the police station to 95mg - when the legal limit is 35mg.
Gibson had already been banned from driving in 2015 when his car hit three cyclists while he was over the limit.
In the latest incident, Gibson, who also played for Manchester United and Everton, knocked a taxi's wing mirror off, but carried on and smashed into parked cars.
Magistrates at the previous hearing indicated Gibson may be jailed.
But District Judge Roger Elsey heard Gibson had psychological issues at the time and sentenced him to a two-year community order, with 250 hours of unpaid work, including 30 days of rehabilitation activity.
Gibson must also pay one of the drivers £800 compensation, costs and a victim surcharge of £85 each and was banned from driving for 40 months.
Sunderland were relegated to the third tier of English football at the end of this season, just one year after they crashed out of the Premier League.
Your guide to the latest election news, analysis, commentary, live updates and schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 543 constituencies for the upcoming general elections.
Updated Date: May 22, 2018 11:03:53 IST