FENLAND: Ban for former Norwich City footballer caught driving at 114mph near West Walton
PUBLISHED: 17:58 11 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:03 02 June 2010
A CHAMPIONSHIP footballer who quit Norwich City because he was homesick has been banned from driving after he was caught speeding through Fenland at 114mph. David Bell was trying to get back from Norfolk to Northamptonshire as quickly as possible to see h
A CHAMPIONSHIP footballer who quit Norwich City because he was homesick has been banned from driving after he was caught speeding through Fenland at 114mph.
David Bell was trying to get back from Norfolk to Northamptonshire as quickly as possible to see his young son last November, when he was clocked breaking the speed limit in his BMW M3 along the A47 at West Walton.
Magistrates saw a character reference from Bell's brother-in-law, a police officer, who said he was "normally a sensible and safe driver".
Bell was signed by former Canaries manager Glenn Roeder last summer but only played 19 league games for the Carrow Road club, before joining Championship rivals Coventry City in January.
When the 25 year old was sold for an undisclosed fee, Canaries boss Bryan Gunn said the player's homesickness was one of the main reasons for his departure.
Gunn said at the time: "He wanted to move back closer to home with his young family. When Coventry made their offer David was clear he wanted to go. David has been very professional and we wish him well in his future career."
When Bell appeared before magistrates in King's Lynn he was banned from driving for 28 days, fined £650 and ordered to pay £50 costs.
He admitted speeding on the A47 dual carriageway at West Walton on November 2 and was told by presiding magistrate Meher Vanner that his actions "posed a serious problem to other road users".
His solicitor, Norwich-based Simon Nicholls, said in mitigation that while his client did not need a driving licence to be a professional footballer, his family situation made his case "very different".
He said: "He has a five-year-old son by a previous relationship, living some miles from where he currently lives in Wellingborough, and a one-year-old girl living with him and his current partner."
He said Bell needed to be able to drive because his partner had to leave for work at 6am each day, so he had to drive the youngster to a relative who looked after her.
Mr Nicholls also said he had visiting rights to his son for two nights a week and one evening for dinner, which meant he needed a car to pick up his son and take him home again.
Bell is currently recovering from an ankle operation, which restricted his Coventry City performances to just nine appearances so far.
Mr Nicholls said Bell would need to make a round-trip of about 100 miles from his Wellingborough home to Coventry's ground for regular physiotherapy and training.
After the case, Bell said he was relieved he had not been banned for longer.