Former Sale Sharks and England U20 center Mark Jennings received a suspended sentence after fleeing police on suspicion of drunk driving in June.
Jennings, who has been banned from driving, was arrested by police at Chester Road Retail Park, Stretford, Manchester on June 15 while driving his ex-girlfriend’s Mini Cooper.
Police testified that when he was arrested he “smelled like drugs.” He refused to give a sample of his breath and fled the police before being arrested at gunpoint.
The 28-year-old was previously convicted of drunk driving in 2017, but was caught driving drunk again in 2019 and was given a driving ban of three. years.
Having refused a breathalyzer test, Jennings also refused to give a blood sample to the police station.
The court heard that Jennings admitted he drove when ineligible and refused a breathalyzer and blood test.
The court also heard how a few turbulent years had led Jennings to derail and lose his career as a professional rugby player.
Jennings had more than 70 appearances for the Sale Sharks, as well as a member of the England U20 squad in 2013. Despite this brilliant start, his career had been marred by injuries. This led to addiction to both alcohol and pain relievers.
In 2019, while intoxicated, Jenning head butted one policeman and threatened to rape another during his arrest. He was then placed on indefinite sabbatical leave by Sale Sharks.
However, what really triggered Jennings’ problems came before that, after a stay in a rehabilitation clinic in Cape Town in 2016, when Jennings learned of the circumstances leading up to her birth.
Talk to RugbyPass in 2020, Jennings – who was born in Namibia – recounted how learning in 2016 that he was born as a result of rape caused him tremendous trauma.
âAround my father, that he raped my mother and that is how I was born, it was the most difficult thing for me. In the past 26 years, when I didn’t know it, I never thought in a million years that this was who my father was. It was the most important thing, the hardest thing for me to get up and talk about. After talking about it, it’s a burden on me and it helped me to be at peace with the situation.
The judge sentenced Jennings to 16 weeks in jail – suspended for two years – for failing to provide a sample for analysis and conduct while ineligible and he was also ordered to attend a treatment program six-month-old alcoholism.
He was banned from driving for four years.
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