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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 March, 2004, 01:08 GMT
Sex charges for Leicester three
Unidentified Leicester player leaving for court on Friday
Three women claimed they were attacked by Leicester City players
Three Leicester City footballers have been charged with "sexual aggression" after three women claimed they were attacked at a Spanish hotel.

Paul Dickov, Frank Sinclair and Keith Gillespie, who deny the charges, will now spend another night in custody.

The judge in Cartagena said the charges were serious enough to go to trial.

A number of other Leicester City players, released from custody, arrived back in the UK at Luton Airport on Friday night.

They included a fourth player held over the allegations, James Scowcroft, who was released on bail.

Also on the flight were Matt Elliott and Lilian Nalis, whose charges were dropped on Friday, together with Danny Coyne and Nikos Dabizas, who were provisionally released on Thursday after being questioned over breaking and entering and failing to help the women.

Manager Micky Adams refused to speak to reporters as he and his players were ushered by police from a side door into a waiting minibus.

PLAYERS CHARGED
Paul Dickov, 31, Scotland, married with three children
Frank Sinclair, 32, Jamaica, single
Keith Gillespie, 29, Northern Ireland, single
Club chief operating officer Paul Mace said they were pleased a further three players had been released on Friday and said the club would "move heaven and earth" to get the three still in custody home quickly.

However, he understood that Mr Dickov, Mr Sinclair and Mr Gillespie would be detained in custody for at least one more night.

Mr Mace said all the players "consistently and strenuously denied" the allegations.

Nine players were originally arrested after the three women complained to police at Alicante airport, as they were about to fly home to Germany.

The Premiership club had been training at the La Manga sports complex when the women said they were assaulted by men who broke into their hotel bedroom.

The alleged victims were found to have suffered injuries to various parts of their body when examined by doctors at Alicante general hospital.

We have every confidence in the Spanish judicial system
Paul Mace
They gave evidence at the court hearing - held behind closed doors - for a second day on Friday and an identity parade was believed to have been held. The six players had given evidence on Thursday.

Another player, Steffen Freund, was quizzed about failing to help a victim of crime but released without charge.

On Friday afternoon, the clerk of the court said Mr Gillespie, Mr Dickov and Mr Sinclair had been formally charged.

Mr Scowcroft - questioned over claims of breaking and entering and failing to assist a victim of a crime - was ordered to pay 20,000 euro (13,300) bail and must report to a Spanish consulate in the UK twice a month.

In Spain, conviction for sexual assault, rape or attempted rape carries a maximum sentence of 12 years, breaking and entering six years, and failing to assist a victim of a crime one year.

Mr Mace added: "We have every confidence in the Spanish judicial system that justice will be seen to be done."

Micky Adams
Micky Adams refused to speak to reporters at Luton Airport
He said the club had received numerous letters, phone calls and e-mails from people expressing their support.

However, he added that the club would be carrying out a full investigation into what had happened and that lessons needed to be learnt.

The latest in a series of scandals to rock football, the accusations follow last week's admission by former Leicester striker Stan Collymore that he has been having sex with strangers in public places.

Leicester, currently a single point off the bottom of the table, continue their relegation battle in a key game at Birmingham City's St Andrews ground on 13 March.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Jake Lynch
"If convicted the three could spend up to 14 years behind bars"



SEE ALSO:
Profile of Leicester stars
05 Mar 04  |  Leicester City


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