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Footballer who killed couple while speeding handed ban for drink-driving

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A former Manchester City youth player who killed a brother and sister while speeding has been banned from the wheel for 22 months after he was caught drink-driving.

Courtney Meppen-Walter, 24, told magistrates he was “embarrassed” at his latest driving offence of being more than twice the legal limit when he was stopped by police in Manchester last month.

In 2013 he was jailed for 16 months for causing the deaths of Kulwant Singh, 32, from Salford, and his sister, Ravel Kaur, 37, by careless driving when he hit their Nissan Micra in his grandfather’s high-powered Mercedes C220 saloon in September 2012.

Moments earlier, the then 18-year-old had been “jockeying” and “playing games” with a friend in a Volkswagen Golf along a nearby dual carriageway before he travelled at nearly double the 30mph speed limit and hit the Nissan as it emerged from a side street in Manchester.

On Wednesday, the now part-time professional footballer and coach was back in court for the drink-driving offence committed in the early hours of December 10 in the city centre.

Meppen-Walter had met friends at the city’s Christmas markets and intended to have just one drink but consumed several, Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard.

Former Manchester City youth player Courtney Meppen-Walter (PA)

CCTV operators later alerted mobile officers on patrol when the defendant’s Kia Picanto was seen swerving in the road.

The vehicle appeared to hit a kerb and was stalled at a red light in Great Bridgewater Street when a police constable approached, the court heard.

Risha Seth, prosecuting, said the officer stated he had to take Meppen-Walter from the car because he would not get out and then needed the assistance of two passers-by as he restrained him to the ground.

Ms Seth said the officer thought the defendant was drunk.

Meppen-Walter was arrested and taken to a police station where he gave a positive reading of 85 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit being 35mcg.

The court was told that father-of-one Meppen-Walter – who pleaded guilty last month – agreed with the evidence of the case but claimed he did not resist arrest as described.

A pre-sentence probation reported noted his drink-driving reflected “poor judgment” when considering his previous conviction and that “again he has failed to consider the consequences of his actions”.

Caitriona McLaughlin, defending, said: “The most significant mitigation in this case is his genuine remorse which has been reflected throughout. He is truly sorry for his actions.

“It was a mistake and it is the one and only drink mistake on his record.”

The court heard that alcohol played no part in the killing of Mr Singh and Ms Kaur who had come to the UK from Afghanistan in 2001 to start a new life after fleeing persecution by the Taliban.

Before passing sentence, chairwoman of the bench Margaret Hutchinson asked Meppen-Walter if he wanted to say anything about the current case.

He replied: “I know what you are probably thinking and what everyone else is thinking. I will probably get called every named under the sun and I deserve it. I’m just embarrassed.”

Mrs Hutchinson said: “We hope this will be a lesson to you and we will not see you in court again.

“Drink-driving is a very serious matter and the consequences could have been much graver than today.”

Meppen-Walter must also serve a 12-month community order, complete 80 hours of unpaid work and pay court costs totalling £170.

He indicated he wanted to take a drink-drive awareness course which would reduce his ban by 22 weeks.

Meppen-Walter, of Kirkstall Avenue, Heywood, was signed by Carlisle United after completing his custodial sentence and is currently playing for Chorley FC in the National League North.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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