Jack Grealish – known for his flamboyant style on and off the pitch – arrived at court on foot as his £80,000 Range Rover was used to deliver a box of Milk Tray to the media nearby.
The England star, wearing a suit and a waist-length overcoat, sauntered into Birmingham Magistrates' Court with a minder, as the 4×4 he crashed during lockdown appeared to be used as a decoy to briefly distract waiting camera crews.
Grealish entered the courthouse minutes before his 9.30am listing time, seconds after the driver of his car – now with a black paint job – got out and handed a small box of Cadbury Milk Tray to a member of the media.
The driver, said by bystanders to resemble Grealish's father Kevin, handed the gift over with the polite inquiry: "How long have you lads been waiting here?"
Grealish – whose surname was repeatedly mis-pronounced as "Gray-lish" by the presiding magistrate – left court as a passenger in the same Range Rover around 20 minutes after he was hit with a total bill in costs, fines and a victim surcharge of £82,900.
Video footage of his apparent attempt to outwit the media on his way into court drew praise from social media users, with one joking that he had "ghosted in at the back post".
Jack Grealish's motor used as a distraction as he arrived at court on foot from down the road. Almost worked as well... pic.twitter.com/NVv55xao3h
— Matthew Cooper (@MatthewCooperPA) December 15, 2020
CCTV footage of the lockdown incident was played to court showing what prosecutors said was the £80,000 4×4 being "reversed at speed" and crashing into a Citroen van, then "swerving" across the road and smashing into a Mercedes car, in a "side-swipe" collision.
The video also showed the Range Rover mounting a kerb and veering into a wall.
A judge was told a witness had said Grealish smelled of "intoxicating liquor", was unsteady on his feet and was slurring his words immediately after the early morning crash on March 29.
In mitigation, Grealish's lawyer, John Dye, referred to a witness seeing the winger wearing odd-coloured slippers immediately after the collision, and put part of the reason for his client's driving down to his choice of "totally inappropriate footwear".
"It was stupid to go in a vehicle when he has got that footwear on," said Mr Dye.
"He was wearing totally inappropriate footwear.
"That, in essence, is why he drove in that manner and you can assess the culpability."
Mr Dye said Grealish had since paid for all the damage caused, adding: "He can afford to pay that and he's resolved that."
The Aston Villa captain, who has five senior caps for England, offered no comment as he left the court looking relaxed and holding a phone to his ear.
The Birmingham-born star committed his international future to England in 2015, having made appearances at every junior level for Ireland.
"I've decided to give my allegiance to England," Grealish tweeted at the time. "It was not an easy decision as Ireland has a special place with me through my family. However, I have decided to represent my country of birth."
Inside the court, John Dye, mitigating for the footballer, said his client was ashamed of what happened in March.
"This is somebody who is genuinely sorry," the lawyer told the court. "He has reflected on the way he has driven and acknowledges the Crown's point in relation to the aggravating features."
The barrister said of a second offence in October: "That was very poor driving over a protracted period of time."
Grealish, the court heard, was described by the officers who stopped him near Villa's training round as "polite, calm and compliant" and apologised for his "aggressive" driving on the M42.