Outrage as 100mph Pompey star stays on the road

Michelle Bates, WO2 Lloyd Gillingham, Noah, six, and Gunner Ryan Hancock
Pictures: Habibur Rahman

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A Pompey star has avoided a driving ban despite being clocked speeding at more than 100mph.

Franck Songo'o, who has not yet played for the Premiership side this season, was clocked by police using temporary equipment doing an average of 101.6mph along a westbound stretch of the M27 near Segensworth, junction nine.

Road campaigners have slammed the 'outrageous' decision of magistrates not to ban the player from driving, saying it sent out the wrong message.

The 20-year-old was pulled over in his powerful BMW 645Ci by a patrol car by the River Hamble bridge near junction eight at about 10.35pm on February 1 this year.

The former French under-19 international player was charged with speeding on a motorway and driving without a licence.

Songo'o of Lock Approach, Port Solent, already had six points on his licence for another offence – also for driving without a licence, which he was convicted of on February 13 at New Forest Magistrates' Court – and so if the bench at Fareham Magistrates Court had decided to press for a full six points, Songo'o would have faced automatic disqualification.

However, the midfielder has since found his Spanish driving licence which he gained in 2005 when playing for Barcelona, which would have meant him not facing the earlier charge.

Barry Culshaw, defending, said: 'He clearly does have a licence.'

And referring to the previous conviction he added: 'In light of what we have seen today, that conviction will go, but in terms of where we are today, it is still there.'

Mr Culshaw will now seek to have the previous case re-opened in the hope of getting the conviction quashed.

Chairman of the bench Dennis Wright spoke only to confirm they would not be pursuing the full six points. Instead he imposed four penalty points, and a fine of 500.

Road-safety charity Brake described the sentence as 'absolutely outrageous'.

Spokeswoman Lorna Jackson said: 'Footballers are role models to a lot of young people and in a high profile case like this the courts need to come down hard on the driver.

'This kind of sentence sends out totally the wrong message about speeding.

'He knew he was speeding and he knew he was putting other people's lives at risk.'

Jay Calascione of the pressure group Road Peace said: 'If we are serious about getting people to pay attention to the rules of the road we've to hit them where it hurts and take away their licences.'

Songo'o refused to comment after the case, as did his agents the SEM Group. When The News asked Portsmouth Football Club to explain to fans whether the player would face any disciplinary action, club spokesman Gary Double refused to comment.

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