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Gillian Taylforth slapped with driving ban after being pulled over drunk on the way to taxi rank

EastEnders star Gillian Taylforth has been banned from driving for two years after being pulled over drunk on the way to a mini-cab office. The soap star, who also played Sgt Nikki Wright in The Bill, was spotted by officers in the car in Hertford town centre because she was driving so slowly, according to police. She was slapped in handcuffs because she was ‘intoxicated’ and behaving unpredictably and later told officer: “Aren’t these like the plastic ones we used on The Bill.” The 59-year-old made an application to overturn the driving ban part of her sentence under “special reasons” but not to overturn the conviction. The 59-year-old pleaded guilty to drink driving at an earlier hearing, but today made an application to be allowed to continue driving arguing she was only driving to a nearby taxi rank and needed a car for personal reasons. This was rejected by the court.

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Gillian Taylforth leaves Stevenage Magistrates Court after being banned from driving for two years
She asked magistrates to let her keep her licence saying she needed to drive her partner, Dave Fairbairn, to his cancer treatment as he is already banned from driving. She was banned from driving for 24 months, ordered to pay a £3,500 fine, £720 costs and a

£120 government surcharge. The actress told Stevenage Magistrates how she and Mr Fairbairn met friends in the Snug bar in the Hertford Town Centre at around 5.30pm on Friday, February 6 this year. In a statement read to the court by Marc Thomson, prosecuting, PC Amanda Payne, who was on foot, spotted Taylforth at the wheel of her Range Rover as cars hooted their horns because she was driving so slowly.

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Gillian Taylforth with fiance Dave Fairbairn
The officer the found the car parked “a good metre and a half from the kerb and sticking out of the parking bay.” PC Payne said: “I’ve approached the passengers side of the vehicle and I could see that there was a male in the driver’s seat. “I could see Taylforth sat in the passenger’s seat. I’ve opened the car door and instantly smelled alcohol in the vehicle.” PC Payne’s statement said: “I’ve asked Taylforth to exit the vehicle, as she has done so I could see that she was unsteady on her feet.” She failed a breath test and was arrested at 1.25am, the court heard. After being cautioned she told police: “I drove, I only drove around the corner, we stopped to get a minicab.”

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Gillian Taylforth leaving Stevenage Magistrates Court
PC Payne’s statement continued: “As I approached I could hear her shouting and waving her arms around. “Due to the fact that the town was busy and we were dealing with an injured male as well I’ve decided to handcuff her to the rear for safety. “In my opinion she was becoming irate and with her level of intoxication she was becoming unpredictable. “As I was handcuffing her Taylforth has started to resist, I did relay along the lines of ‘I don’t care who she was.'” The court heard as the star was driven to a police station she said to the officer “Aren’t these hand cuffs plastic like the ones we use in The Bill?”

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Gillian Taylforth was also fined £3,500
Once in custody a breath sample was taken and showed the actress had 94 micrograms of alcohol in 100mls of breath blood. The legal limit is 35. The star told the court: “We were only going to stay a little while as they wanted to go and watch the rugby. We stayed for a little while, had a small bite to eat. “Dave said why don’t we stay a little longer, we could have a few more drinks and leave the car. I didn’t think about it at first, after a while when I thought I’ll have a drink I did.” But realising the car would towed away to make way for a market the following day she told the court: “We walked to the car, I reversed it and just drove around the the corner and parked. I had no intention of driving any further whatsoever. She added: “I think I was in the car for about 12, maybe 14 seconds.”

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Gillian Taylforth who plays Kathy Beale in EastEnders
Pleading to avoid a ban she said she need to drive her 16 year old son to school adding: “My partner has got cancer so I take him to the oncology unit in Southampton. “And I use it for shopping purposes, my son is in a football team do I take to practice and matches.” She said losing her car would mean her having to take public transport or a cab to the her nearest town six miles away. Taylforth, who lives on a farm near Arrington Cambridgeshire, pleaded guilty to drink driving on February 23 at Stevenage Magistrates Court.

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Gillian Taylforth with fiancee Dave Fairbairn leaving Stevenage Magistrates Court
Banning her for 24 months chair of the bench, Robert Cinnamon, said rejected the application for “special reasons” to strike out the ban. He said: “Hertford town centre is very busy on a Saturday night, with so many clubs, bars, restaurants and pubs and taxi ranks in close proximity to the area you were in. “Taking into account the local knowledge we are satisfied there would have been a real danger to pedestrians and other road users for you driving your vehicle when you were significantly over the limit. “We do not therefore find any special reasons.”




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