Bianca Williams, the British sprinter who won a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, has been banned from driving for six months after accumulating 29 penalty points on her licence. Williams, 29, failed to tell the police who was driving a Tesla Model 3 when three alleged offences took place between April and June 2023.
Williams, who is the partner of the Portuguese sprinter Ricardo Dos Santos, appeared at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, December 4, 2023, and pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to give information relating to the identification of a driver. She was fined £660, ordered to pay £151 in costs and surcharges, and disqualified from driving for six months.
Williams told the court that the driving ban would jeopardise her chances of going to the 2024 Olympics in Paris, as she relied on her car to travel to training and competitions. She said that she had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being stopped and searched by the police in July 2020, along with Dos Santos and their baby son. She said that the incident, which was widely shared on social media, had left her feeling “anxious and paranoid” about driving.
Williams and Dos Santos have accused the police of racially profiling them and stopping them because they were black and driving a Mercedes. They have lodged a complaint against the police, and five officers are facing a gross misconduct hearing over the stop and search. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has alleged that the officers had no reasonable grounds to stop the couple, and that they had lied about smelling cannabis in the car.
Williams said that she had not received the notices of intended prosecution (NIPs) from the police, and that she had not been aware of the alleged offences until she was contacted by a journalist. She said that she had moved house several times in the past year, and that she had not updated her address on her driving licence. She also said that she had been busy with her training and preparing for the Tokyo Olympics, which she had missed due to injury.
The magistrate, Paul Goldspring, said that he had sympathy for Williams, but that he had no discretion to impose a lesser penalty. He said that Williams had been “negligent” in not updating her address, and that she had failed to respond to the NIPs. He said that the driving ban was mandatory, and that he hoped that Williams would be able to find alternative ways to pursue her Olympic dream.
Williams, who is coached by the former Olympic champion Linford Christie, is one of the best sprinters in the UK, and holds the national record for the 4x100m relay. She has represented Great Britain at the World Championships, the European Championships, and the Commonwealth Games. She has also been vocal about the issues of racism and discrimination in sport and society. She has said that she will appeal against the driving ban, and that she will not give up on her Olympic hope.
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