Jockey avoids prison term

CHAMPION jockey John Egan has avoided a prison sentence despite breaching a court order preventing him from harassing his wife following the breakdown of their marriage.

CHAMPION jockey John Egan has avoided a prison sentence despite breaching a court order preventing him from harassing his wife following the breakdown of their marriage.

Egan, 38, went to see his wife and sent her up to 25 text messages a day despite being banned by a court the previous month from pestering her or going to the family home, Ipswich Crown Court heard yesterday .

John Fenn, prosecuting, said he was arrested on November 30 last year after visiting his wife's house and using bad language.

Police officers discovered 11 shotgun cartridges in his pocket and found a shotgun in his BMW X5 which was parked outside.


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The officers noticed Egan had been drinking and a breath test showed he had 59 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit is 35 micrograms.

Mr Fenn explained that although the jockey had held a shotgun certificate he had surrendered it on October 19 last year.

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Egan of Dalham, Newmarket, admitted harassment, possessing a shotgun without a certificate and being in charge of a motor vehicle while over the legal limit for drinking and driving.

Judge John Devaux said a serious fall suffered by the defendant may have led to him suffering from a temporary depressive illness.

He accepted Egan was now a substantially different man to the person he had been at the time of the offences last November.

He made Egan the subject of a 12-month supervision order and said it was up to him to fit his work schedule around regular appointments with his probation officer.

“However exulted your position and however busy you are, you are going to have to find time to comply with this supervision order,” the judge said.

Egan was fined £500 for possessing the shot gun without a certificate and was banned from possessing or using a gun for two years.

He was also fined £750 and had his licence endorsed with 10 penalty points for being in charge of a motor vehicle while over the limit for drink driving.

Judge Devaux also ordered Egan to pay £250 prosecution costs.

Mr Fenn told the court that Egan and his wife had been having serious matrimonial difficulties and by October last year their relationship had broken down to such an extent that she had obtained a court order banning him from returning to the family home. He was also prohibited from using or threatening violence and from pestering, intimidating or harassing her.

Between November 22 and November 30 last year Egan had breached the order by returning to the family home and by sending his wife up to 25 text messages a day.

The court heard that although Egan didn't have any previous convictions he had been cautioned on October 13 last year for assaulting his wife after losing his temper while they were in bed.

Egan had grabbed hold of his wife and pushed her against a wall before damaging a door.

Mark Haslam, for Egan, said his client had attended a shoot on the day of the offences and had borrowed a gun from a friend but had not used it.

The gun had remained in his car when he visited his wife and at no time had he used the gun or threatened to use it.

Mr Haslam said Egan had been driven to his wife's house and he had not driven the vehicle while he was over the legal limit for drinking and driving.

He said that at the time of the offences Egan had been suffering from physical and mental difficulties which had led him to act in a way that was “wholly unacceptable and out of character”.

He said Egan's physical problems had been caused by a serious fall during a race at Wolverhampton on November 25.

He had done his best to get his life back in order, Mr Haslam said, adding a driving ban would have a “catastrophic” effect on Egan's career.

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