Ricky Whittle has denied he deliberately drove his car into a photographer.

The former Hollyoaks actor – who denies one count of dangerous driving at Liverpool Crown Court – was successfully taking part in the hit BBC One dance show Strictly Come Dancing and had recently split from partner, fellow Hollyoaks star Carley Stenson, when the incident happened, the court was told.

Questioned by Stuart Driver QC, defending, Ricky, from Billinge, Greater Manchester, said he and Carley had remained on good terms after they broke up and he had offered her a lift home from the party.

The group of photographers followed Carley and a friend as they walked to meet Ricky in his red Dodge Ram truck.

Ricky told the court: “I said (to the photographers), ‘life’s s*** as it is, can you give us a break? It’s cold and the girls are only in dresses, just leave us alone.'”

The 30-year-old said one of the photographers put down his camera, saying they had what they needed, but Mr Farrell continued taking pictures. Ricky said he was forced to shield his eyes because Mr Farrell was using a bright, night-time flash on his camera.

He added: “I revved my engine, indicating that I wanted to move the car away. I was using the frame of the car between the windscreen and the driver-side door to shield from the flash. I was aware the road ahead was clear so I put the car in gear and escaped.”

Ricky said he had no idea the car had swerved until he saw the footage after he was arrested. He said he had heard a ‘clunk’ sound which he assumed was Mr Farrell’s camera striking his wing mirror.

Prosecutors say Ricky intentionally struck Mr Farrell out of ‘irritation’ at the situation.

The case was adjourned until Wednesday when Carley is due to give her evidence.

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