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Girls Aloud's Sarah Harding driving ban

Girls Aloud singer Sarah HardingGirls Aloud singer Sarah Harding has been disqualified from driving for six months after being caught using her phone behind the wheel.

The singer, 31, was spotted talking on a mobile phone while  driving her Range Rover in central London on 4 April.

Having already picked up nine points on her licence for previous driving offences of speeding, the chart-topper will now have to cope with a spell away from the roads.

Six-month driving ban

The singer appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court hearing wearing a sleek black trouser suit with a white shirt.

During the 15-minute proceedings she only spoke to confirm her identity on Tuesday morning.

District Judge Nina Tempia gave Harding a six-month ban and ordered her to pay a £500 fine, £20 victim surcharge and £85 prosecution costs.

Judge Tempia told her that she is a normal person and should be dealt with as such, adding: "I can see no reason why you shouldn't be disqualified."

Caught on mobile phone while driving

Nick Freeman, who was representing Harding, said she had already been punished by the negative publicity the incident has attracted.

He explained that the driving incident comes as she prepares to strike out on her own in the charts and start a solo career now that Girls Aloud is no more.

David Davies, prosecuting, told the court that the incident happened at 6pm in Charing Cross Road when a police officer was cycling in the same direction Harding was driving.

Davies revealed that the car swerved into the officer's path and when he looked over he noticed Harding was talking on her mobile phone while driving.

Singer on phone as she was 'lost'

"He spoke to her and tried to stop her. Eventually she spoke to other officers, and said she was lost," Davies added.

A separate charge for failing to stop when the officer flagged her down was dropped after the singer said the road conditions meant it was unsafe to do so right away.

Freeman explained that she had just come straight out of a business meeting and immediately accepted culpability.

"When he pulled alongside on the cycle, she disconnected the call and said 'I know, I know - I'm lost'," he added.

He explained that the incident happened during rush hour and initially the officer had wanted her to pull over on nearside, but she said "it's not safe".

Mr Freeman urged the judge to consider that Harding covers 25,000 miles a year in her car and needed to drive to work and also visit her mother in Stockport twice a month.

Public transport 'inconvenient' for star

He described how having to use public transport would be a "massive inconvenience" for her because of the attention she would receive.

He said that a ban would force her to cut down her travel, see her mother less and reduce her business commitments.

But Judge Tempia responded by saying she could pay someone to drive her instead.

The singer had picked up points after three separate speeding offences on May 5, 2010, February 6, 2011, and September 17, 2012.

Top 10 motoring convictions

Using a hand-held device while driving, as committed by Harding, is the second most common motoring conviction in the UK.

This is according to exclusive research carried out by

We looked at customers who obtained a car insurance quote from between October and December 2012, with motoring convictions in the last five years prior to the date of the quote.

And as well as a conviction, points on your licence and a fine, falling foul of the law while driving could also add hundreds of pounds to your car insurance premiums.

Top 10 motoring convictions

1. SP30 - Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road

2. CU80 - Use of a hand-held device whilst driving

3. TS10 - Failing to comply with traffic light signals

4. SP50 - Exceeding speed limit on a motorway

5. IN10 - Using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks

6. DR10 - Driving or attempting to drive with alcohol level above limit

7. CD10 - Driving without due care and attention

8. LC20 - Driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence

9. CU30 - Using a vehicle with defective tyre

10. SP40 - Exceeding passenger vehicle speed limit

Impact of conviction on car insurance cost

Gareth Kloet, head of car insurance at, said: "Any conviction will likely cause a change in the cost of car insurance.

"How big an impact a conviction will have on the cost of your insurance depends on a number of factors, including insurance companies' conviction policies, the type of conviction, the car you drive and your age."

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Naphtalia Loderick

Naphtalia Loderick

Naphtalia Loderick covers all things consumer for She started out on a weekly newspaper, via a national news agency and a stint in the fun but ‘not as glamorous as it appears on screen’ world of TV at the BBC researching consumer films for The One Show.

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