Former soap actress Gemma Bissix narrowly avoided a driving ban after being caught travelling at more than 100mph on the A1 near Peterborough - her second speeding offence in two years.
Former EastEnders and Hollyoaks actress Bissix (30), from Surrey, was stopped near Sawtry in May when officers spotted her in a hired Ford Focus driving at 108mph on the road on May 11 this year. The road has a speed limit of 70mph.
Today (Monday) she appeared at Peterborough Magistrates Court, where she was given six penalty points, and ordered to pay £600 in fines, costs and a surcharge.
Speaking after the hearing Bissix, who had been travelling home from a theatre in Lincoln when she was stopped, said she was relieved she had not been banned, and admitted facing the magistrates had been a ‘scary’ experience.
Bissix is best known for her role as villain Clare Devine in Channel Four soap Hollyoaks. The character was killed off last month when she was run over by Doctor Browning.
She also played Clare Bates in BBC soap Eastenders.
Giles Beaumont, prosecuting, said: “On May 11 at 10.35pm police officers on duty on the A1(M) at Sawtry saw a Ford Focus travelling southbound.
“They measured the speed for 0.654 miles, recording an average speed of 108mph.
“When she was stopped, Miss Bissix said ‘I’m sorry.’
“The road was dry, there was good visibility and traffic conditions were moderate.”
Mr Beaumont said while Bissix had admitted speeding, she originally claimed her car could not travel faster than 90mph, but last week admitted her speed.
The case had been initially listed for a Newton Hearing, designed to establish what speed she had been travelling, but her late admission meant she could be sentenced today.
Gillian McGivern, defending, said: “She in no way wished to inconvenience the court, or in any way attack the credibility of the officers.
“As a lay person she wasn’t clear on how they measure the speed of her car, and was of the genuine belief her vehicle was not capable of the speed.
“She now accepts what the officers say is the correct speed.
“She has three points on her licence for a previous speeding offence in 2011.
“She drives a considerable number of miles every year as a professional and well known actress.
“She has just finished a fairly lengthy stint with Hollyoaks four weeks ago, and currently has no role at the moment, but anticipates she will have employment in the near future.”
Miss McGivern said she regularly used her car to help her grandfather with the shopping, and also helped friends with her car.
She also said Bissix had recently moved house, and there was no public transport near-by.
“She is sorry for what she has done, and she said to me it is her first big mistake.”
Magistrate Mr Damazer said: “Cases like this one are always difficult, and there are a number of things that go in your favour, and that go against you.
“It will come as no surprise to you that you are not the first person we have seen standing where you are.
“We understand you were in a hire car, and you may not have known how it performs.
“There is also no suggestion you were driving in an inappropriate manner, other than your speed.
“On the other hand there is a difference between saying I was just over the limit, at 80mph, and being caught at 108mph.
“However, given your guilty plea, the help and support you give to others using your car and most significantly the problems of getting work, we will not suspend you.
“You will be given six points on your licence - now you have nine points in total, if you so much as look at a traffic light in the wrong tone of voice, you risk getting a further three points, and being disqualified as a totter.”
Bissix was fined £400, ordered to pay £160 costs and a £40 victim surcharge. She was given 24 hours to pay £200, and 28 days to pay the rest.