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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 March, 2004, 17:14 GMT
Footballers before Spanish judge
Club manager Micky Adams
Micky Adams said the Madrid blasts put the case into perspective
Three Leicester City players accused of sexual assault are in a Spanish court to hear if they will be granted bail.

Paul Dickov, Frank Sinclair and Keith Gillespie were being interviewed by a judge in Cartagena behind closed doors.

The players, who deny allegations they attacked three women in a hotel in La Manga, have spent nearly a week in Sangonera prison near Murcia.

One of the women and one of the accused faced each other in court to discuss the matter before the judge.

There was also an identity parade and evidence from the other women, hotel staff and another Leicester player Steffen Freund, who flew back from the UK.

He was one of nine players arrested last week but he was later freed and cleared of all charges.

Leicester City chief executive Tim Davies told journalists outside the court: "Steffen Freund very kindly came out today.

"He was requested by the judge just to help the judge with some questions and is returning back to England to focus on the match on Saturday."

Blast horror

Luis Ruiperez, a members of the players' legal team, said a face to face meeting, known as a "careo", had been held between one of the players and one of the women.

He said it was a process in which accuser and accused are able to argue over differences between their alternate versions of events.

A bail decision would be made before the end of the day, he predicted.

The judge earlier broke off proceedings to express horror at a series of blasts in Madrid, in which 190 people died.

Keith Gillespie, Frank Sinclair and Paul Dickov

About 100 court staff held a five-minute silence in memory of the victims.

In Leicester City's Walker Stadium, club manager Micky Adams said the club's thoughts were with the families of those affected.

"That is a tragic event that has happened there today and when you see the loss of life there it puts everything into perspective as far as I am concerned."

He added: "As long as the judge takes everything into consideration, I am sure that he will reach the right verdict and I don't care how long it takes."

The three players face up to 14 years in prison if found guilty.

Six other Leicester City players, including Steffen Freund, were released from custody last week.

Micky Adams has said the six, who also include James Scowcroft, Matt Elliott, Lilian Nalis, Danny Coyne, Nikos Dabizas, will be considered for the squad against Birmingham on Saturday.

The BBC's James Munro
"The judge will ask for the players' account of events at La Manga"


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