Page last updated at 19:15 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

Footballer jailed for sex assault

Marlon King
The Jamaican international had said he "didn't touch any girl in that club"

Premier League footballer Marlon King has been jailed for 18 months for sexually assaulting a woman - and will be sacked by Wigan Athletic.

The striker was repeatedly "cold-shouldered" by the student in a bar in London, Southwark Crown Court heard.

King was convicted of sexually assaulting the woman and causing actual bodily harm at the bar last December.

Following sentence, the jury heard the player had 13 previous convictions, including violence against women.

During the trial, the court heard he groped his 20-year-old victim and then punched her, leaving her with a broken nose.

'Gratuitous violence'

The father-of-three, from Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, had insisted it was a case of mistaken identity. But he was convicted by a majority of 10-2.

The assault happened at the Soho Revue Bar at a time when he was on loan with Hull City.

King was celebrating two occasions - his wife's latest pregnancy and the scoring of a winning goal - with a night out in the West End.

Prosecution lawyer Roger Daniells-Smith said King had struck up a conversation with his victim by saying: "Don't you know who I am? I'm a millionaire."

We will now be in the process of severing his contract. To say the least, I am really, really disappointed
Dave Whelan
Chairman, Wigan Athletic

The court heard she replied: "I don't care who you are; take your millionaire-self away from our table."

He groped the woman and she told him: "Don't do that, it's not nice. Don't touch me."

King was warned off her again but he continued to stroke the woman's hair and then told her she was not in his league, the court heard.

After she pushed him in the chest, King lost his temper and a moment of "completely gratuitous violence" led to him "smashing" the victim to the floor, jurors were told.

Two other people standing beside him were also knocked away as a result of the force of the blow he inflicted.

Several witnesses testified that King was responsible, despite his denial.

Marlon King
King will be left without a club once he has served his sentence

They included a football coach who insisted the 29-year-old Jamaican international was the assailant.

Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan said King "was finished with football" at the club.

"We will now be in the process of severing his contract," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"To say the least, I am really, really disappointed."

Mr Whelan continued: "It's really upsetting and it just sets such a bad example for any youngster coming through who wants to be a professional footballer."

In 2002 King, then playing for Gillingham, served five months of a two-year prison sentence for handling a stolen car before being released on appeal.

Other previous convictions include dishonesty and a range of motoring offences, including drink-driving.

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