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Friday, 10 May, 2002, 11:29 GMT 12:29 UK
Footballer jailed over stolen car
Marlon King scored in Gillingham's FA Cup fifth-round defeat by Arsenal
King scored in Gillingham's FA Cup loss to Arsenal
Gillingham footballer Marlon King, 22, has been jailed for 18 months for handling a stolen 32,000 BMW convertible.

The striker claimed during his trial, at Inner London Crown Court in March, that he bought the car in innocence at a knock-down price of 15,000.

But the 5m-rated player was convicted of handling the stolen car and was given a jail sentence during a hearing on Friday.

In a separate trial at the same court on Thursday, King, of Homesly Road, Forest Hill, south-east London, was cleared of assaulting a plain-clothes police officer.

Police checks

King, the Kent club's leading asset and top scorer last season, with 20 goals to his credit, was jailed for the unrelated matter of handling a stolen car.

In the March trial, the jury heard how King was stopped while driving a BMW in July last year.

Police checks quickly revealed the vehicle had false number plates and had been stolen in Chelsea the previous month.

In another trial, which had been kept separate from the stolen car case, the striker was accused of causing actual bodily harm to PC Mark Searle by smashing an alcohol bottle over his head.

Trouble flared when the officer approached a passenger of King's off-roader who had left the vehicle to urinate in Streatham, south-west London, in September last year.

During a three day trial King said he did not know PC Searle was a police officer and threw the bottle at him to protect his friend.

The jury cleared him on Thursday.

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