A Premier League footballer was jailed for 18 months yesterday for groping a young woman in a nightclub and then breaking her nose after she spurned his “disgusting” advances.
Marlon King (29), from Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, who was celebrating both his wife's pregnancy and scoring a winning goal hours earlier, was repeatedly “cold-shouldered” by women revellers in London's packed Soho Revue Bar last December.
When a slightly-built university student became the latest to recoil from his touch, he lost his temper and in an outburst of “completely gratuitous violence” lashed out, “smashing” her to the floor.
His single clenched fist blow was so powerful that two other revellers — one of them holding on to his arm — were also sent flying.
While bouncers moved in to restrain the muscular £5 million striker, friends rushed to the aid of his victim.
As she was helped to her feet blood poured from her shattered nose, London's Southwark Crown Court heard.
The Wigan Athletic player claimed he was a victim of “mistaken identity”.
But after hearing overwhelming evidence from a string of witnesses, including a football coach who insisted he was the assailant, the jury decided he was lying. He was unanimously convicted of sexually assaulting the 20-year-old and causing actual bodily harm.
Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan yesterday said the club had decided to sack King.
Whelan told Sky Sports News: “We have to follow the rules and regulations, which means we will have to give him 40 days’ notice that his contract will be cancelled.
“He is absolutely sacked — we will not tolerate football players who get sent to jail for 18 months.
“As far as we are concerned, he is finished with football at Wigan Athletic.”
In addition to the jail sentence King will also have to register as a sex offender for seven years, pay £3,125 compensation to his victim and £1,800 prosecution costs.
Referring to King's £35,000 wage packet and the fact his contract will be revoked, costing him more than £1m, the judge, Nicholas Loraine-Smith, said: “I appreciate this will cost you an enormous amount of money but it is difficult to be sympathetic when you were boasting about your earnings in the way you did.”
As the sentence was spelt out several of King's supporters stormed from court swearing at the judge.
One, pointing at the judge, screamed: “This is a clear case of institutional racism.
“You should not be up there... Up the National Front. Heil Hitler.”
Another, referring to footballer Steven Gerrard's acquittal for affray, shouted “Look at you, you are all white. Steven Gerrard is still walking the streets.”