Aston Villa player's brother-in-law crashed new Ferrari
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Aston Villa player's brother-in-law crashed new Ferrari

Offshore Technology International -
Aston Villa star's brother-in-law took footballer's brand new £250,000 Ferrari 488 GTB for a spin and crashed it into a tree just hours after it was delivered

The brother-in-law of Aston Villa star Lewis Grabban has been banned from driving for a year after he took the footballer's £250,000 Ferrari for a spin and crashed it into a tree.

The brand new grey Ferrari 488 GTB had just been delivered to the 30-year-old Championship footballer's house.

Knowing he wouldn't be at home in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, it was arranged that his wife's brother, Michael O'Donnell, would be there to 'take receipt' of the vehicle.

The footballer who, at the time was a forward with Reading, left home at 7.25am on April 27 last year knowing his cherished new car would soon be delivered.

A few hours later, the luxury car arrived at the player's home, and O'Donnell, 26, and his friend Gokan Kiziloz, 26, were waiting.

St Albans Magistrates' Court today heard that after the delivery, the pair started the engine and then posed for photos and video clips by the car.

They then made the fateful decision to take it for a drive.

Peter Shaw, prosecuting, told the court it was decided that, because O'Donnell had injured his wrist, Kiziloz would drive and O'Donnell would sit in the passenger seat.

Despite the fact he wasn't insured to drive such a high powered vehicle, he told O'Donnell he had driven a Porsche in the past and would be able to handle it.

Recorder Leslie Cuthbert was told that having driven in Potters Bar, they decided to turn around and head back to the home of Mr Grabban and his wife Catherine.

Grabban, who is on loan from Bournemouth, was reportedly paid around £29,000 a week by the south coast club.

Mr Shaw added it was as the pair were returning with Kiziloz still behind the wheel, that the crash happened shortly before 11.30am.

He said: 'He put his foot down slightly and lost control.' He said the back end swerved and the vehicle came off the road and 'hit a tree.'

Kiziloz, of Edmonton, north London, and O'Donnell of Barnet, north London, both admitted aggravated vehicle taking. Kiziloz also admitted driving with no insurance.

Mr Shaw said the the pair climbed out of the wrecked car dazed and shocked and O'Donnell phoned his sister Catherine to tell her what had happened.

At first she thought he was joking, but when he returned to the house on foot and she saw a cut to his face, she realised he was telling the truth.

The court heard he then returned to the scene of the crash and, with Kiziloz, waited until the police and ambulances arrived.

The vehicle was then shipped back to the Ferrari factory in Italy for repairs where the final cost for the work carried out is likely to be in the region of £93,500.

Mr Raymond Ali, for O'Donnell, who works in marketing and who was of previous good character, said: 'It was a moment of madness.'

He said that, as a result of what happened that day, the relationship between his client and his sister had been affected.

John Swain, for Kiziloz, said his client, like his co-defendant, was now thinking 'why on earth did we do that?'

He said getting behind the wheel of the car and without insurance and not being able 'to handle it' had been a serious misjudgement.

Mr Swain said Kiziloz was a carer for his mother and any disqualification from driving would have an impact on her.

Passing sentence, Recorder Cuthbert told the men they had 'foolishly' agreed to take the vehicle for a drive that morning.

He said: 'Neither of you stopped to think of the consequences. You took this vehicle out for a joyride in breach of trust of the owner Mr Grabban. You have no one but yourselves to blame for the sentences I impose.'

Both were given a 12 month community order and O'Donnell was ordered to carry out 225 hours of unpaid work and Kiziloz was told he must perform 24 hours of unpaid work.

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