Published: 17:00, 13 March 2015
Former The Apprentice winner Stella English claimed her children's nanny was behind the wheel of her courtesy car when it was zapped speeding in Kent.
But a court convicted the 37-year-old of failing to reveal the identity of the driver after she ignored FIVE police letters asking for the information.
English – who won the hit BBC show in 2010 – had denied driving the Honda CR-V when it was caught doing 57mph on the 50mph Detling Hill in February last year.
The reality star, of Staple Street, Hernhill, claimed she was not in possession of the car at the time of the offence, writing to police in July to say her au pair may have been behind the wheel.
But she refused to reveal the au pair's name because the speed camera photograph did not show the driver’s face.
It was only eight days before her trial at Folkestone Magistrates Court that she named the nanny as Pauline Belska, who she said had returned to Poland shortly after the offence.
English explained that part of the au pair’s job was to look after her children and take them to school, but Andrew Perry, prosecuting, said that on the day of the offence, the Honda had entered the London congestion charge zone at Kings Cross just after 10am.
He suggested to English that it was unlikely that Miss Belska had been driving the car that day, but English insisted it was still possible.
He added that checks suggested the au pair was not insured to drive the courtesy car, so if she had been behind the wheel, it would not have been legal.
In English’s defence, the court was told she had done her best to find out who was driving.
She criticised the police form for having no box in which to state the facts of her not knowing the driver’s identity.
She was convicted on February 24 of failing to identify the driver of the vehicle.
Magistrates told her: “You had ruled yourself out in the reply you dated June 9, so it was incumbent on you to give the full details of the only other person it could have been.
“You did not do so at any time.”
“This case clearly highlights the importance of vehicle owners knowing who has access to their vehicle and who is driving it" - Chief Insp Matthew Kendall
English was fined £900 and ordered to pay £900 court costs and a £90 victim surcharge.
Six penalty points were also put on her driving licence.
Kent Police’s Chief Inspector Matthew Kendall, chair of the Kent & Medway Safety Camera Partnership, said: “This case clearly highlights the importance of vehicle owners knowing who has access to their vehicle and who is driving it.
“Road traffic laws are very important in improving road safety and reducing casualties.
“We all need to play our part to make the roads of Kent safer.”