Former BHS boss who bought chain for £1 banned from driving


A former boss of BHS who bought the retail chain for just £1 has been banned from driving for six months for speeding.

Dominic Chappell, from Winterborne Clenston, Dorset, exceeded a 40mph speed limit in Andover, Hampshire, on April 6.

The 49-year-old was driving a green Range Rover on Churchill Way when a police officer clocked him driving at an average speed of 63.9mph at 8.47pm.

After being pulled over, Chappell told the police: "This will cost me £25,000. I've been driving since I was 18 and have never had an accident.

"I drive an average of 35,000 miles a year and I used to be a race car driver."

He was disqualified from holding a driving licence for six months at Aldershot Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

Chappell, who previously pleaded guilty to the offence, has 10 points on his licence for three other speeding offences in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Chappell was given six points for his latest speeding offence, bringing the total on his licence up to 16.

He was also fined £665 and ordered to pay £150 in costs.

Magistrate Jenny Gove said his speed was "really very excessive" and that Chappell would not suffer exceptional hardship by having his licence taken away.

She added: "We don't find exceptional hardship - it has to relate to other people who are innocent. You are the one who has to be punished."

Chappell took to the stand to plead with the court not to take his licence away.

He said it would be "a stretch" to employ a chauffeur or take taxis, after declaring his weekly income is £5,000.

Chappell claimed that he suffered from "abuse" and "strong language" from other passengers when he used the train.

He said he has to attend meetings four days a week as part of discussions with two Parliamentary committees and the pensions regulator over the collapse of BHS.

His manor house in the village of Winterborne Clenston is apparently two miles from a bus stop and around 20 miles from the nearest train station.

Chappell's wife drives 100 miles each day taking his young son to a private boarding school, where his daughter is also a weekly boarder, he said.

Michael Levy, defending, said: "Given the isolation and his particular commitment at the moment - is it not an exceptional situation he finds himself in?

"It may be there is a genuine public interest in this defendant helping these people as much as he possibly can, to the full and maximum.

"Clearly if he is not able to do that the whole process is going to be more difficult and drawn out and take longer."

He added: "Because of the exceptional nature of what he's doing and who he is trying to assist in the resolution of this very unfortunate and public mess that has arisen, I would invite the court to give him one last chance."

Chappell bought the high street business off Sir Philip Green in 2015 through his company Retail Acquisitions.

Last month he denied the £2.6 million package he took including a £600,000 salary contributed to the demise of the brand.

The collapse of BHS in April has left 11,000 people out of work and a £571 million black hole in the pension fund.

A former bankrupt with no retail experience, Chappell has since apologised to the staff of the chain for the demise of BHS, and insisted he made every effort to turn the ailing company around.

Speaking after the hearing, Chappell said: "I have been disqualified for six months. I respect the court's decision.

"I was speeding and shouldn't have been, and that's what happened. I am sorry for that."

He said he will "possibly" use public transport to take the 20,000 documents - three boxes - he needs to go to the BHS meetings.

When asked about BHS workers, he replied: "I feel very sorry for them. British Home Stores has been a very difficult turnaround for us and I do regret that situation."

He said there are currently three investigations under way, which are due to conclude "over the next few months".