Aberdeen FC star Jonny Hayes has been banned from driving after racing past police at more than 125mph on his way to training.
The former Celtic footballer left police in an unmarked BMW “for dead” and overtook them on the AWPR before accelerating away at eye-watering speeds – despite a yellow weather warning being in place.
Hayes had denied a charge of dangerous driving but was found guilty following a trial at Aberdeen Sheriff Court today.
Famed for his lightning pace at the height of his career, the 36-year-old sprinted down Union Street at the conclusion of the case after being allowed to leave court via a side door by social workers.
During the trial, the court heard officers had been on patrol in an unmarked vehicle on the A90 AWPR near Kingswells around 8am on January 12 2021.
PC Conor McLeod and PC Daniel Baird gave evidence stating Hayes, driving an Audi RS 5, rapidly approached behind them while they were travelling at the 70mph overtaking another vehicle.
PC McLeod told the court Hayes was “tailgating” their vehicle just one car length behind before they merged back into lane one.
Hayes was then seen “accelerating very harshly”, Mr McLeod said, adding: “It gave a good roar as it went past us.”
The officers began to follow Hayes.
‘I put my foot down and accelerated’
Mr McLeod said: “I got up to 120-125mph and the RS 5 was leaving me for dead. I couldn’t keep up with it.”
He said Hayes slowed down slightly due to other traffic and the police officers managed to catch up and follow him, matching his speed, for “well over a mile” at “over 100mph”.
They eventually activated their blue lights and pulled Hayes over as they passed the scene of an unrelated accident.
Defence counsel Mark Moir KC, cross-examining Mr McLeod, asked why they hadn’t stopped Hayes earlier, as soon as they realised his speed.
The officer replied: “Because I wanted to get sufficient evidence to charge the offence.”
He went on: “I got up to 125mph and he was still pulling away from me.
“It levelled out about 115mph and that’s when we got a constant follow on him.”
Pc Baird also took to the witness stand and described Hayes’ acceleration past them as “rapid and quite aggressive”.
He said they initially accelerated to “around 120mph” and struggled to catch up with Hayes, but eventually matched his speed “about 110mph”.
‘I presume his income is substantial’
Taking to the witness stand himself, Hayes said he was “a few car lengths” behind the officers initially, who he had not realised were police.
Asked by Mr Moir what speed he had accelerated to, the footballer replied: “I can’t recall. My mind went blank.”
Asked if he thought he’d exceeded the speed limit, Hayes said: “I did.”
He admitted he had “probably” exceeded 90mph and may have topped 100mph.
However, he denied hitting 120mph.
Mr Moir said: “Am I right in understanding you accept you passed the vehicle and you would certainly have been doing up to 100mph or thereabouts?”
Cross-examining the footballer, fiscal depute Emma Petersen asked: “Do you accept travelling at speeds in excess of 100mph?”
He replied: “I don’t know exactly what speed. I put my foot down and accelerated.”
In his closing statement, Mr Moir invited the court to find Hayes guilty of careless driving as opposed to dangerous driving.
However, Sheriff Joseph Platt found Hayes guilty of dangerous driving and banned him for 12 months.
Discussing the prospect of a fine, Mr Moir said: “His income is approximately…”
But was cut off by Sheriff Platt, who interjected: “I don’t need to know the details. I presume his income is substantial.”
He fined Hayes £2,075.
After court, Hayes, of Inverurie, was allowed to leave via a side exit by social workers and ran off up Union Street.
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