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Ex-Celtic player avoids jail over drunken sex attack

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Chris Killen

Chris Killen

PA

Chris Killen

A former professional footballer who got into the bed of a stranger and touched her after an eight-hour drinking binge has avoided a jail sentence for sexual assault.

Former Manchester City and Celtic player Chris Killen (35) was in a "stupefied state" from alcohol when he went through the unlocked doors of a house in Bury, Greater Manchester, where a group of women were sleeping after a party last year.

Killen, a father-of-two, went into a bedroom and got under the covers next to a woman who was sleeping alongside her friend and another woman in the room.

The victim, who had been drinking, suddenly became aware of a man next to her in the bed and "froze".

She then felt a hand on her bottom over her underwear, Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester heard. She cried out to her sleeping friend who used her phone as a light to see what was happening.

Killen removed his hand and sat up in bed amid demands to know who he was and what he was doing there.

Gary Woodall, prosecuting, told the court Killen said his name was "John" and he had arrived at the house with "two girls" then quickly left the room and the house which was rented out by a property firm he is involved with.

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New Zealand-born Killen returned moments later to ask for his shoes back, the court heard.

He represented his country in the 2010 World Cup after playing for Middlesbrough and Celtic and started his career with Manchester City as a trainee.

The defendant, of London Road, Adlington, near Macclesfield, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to an offence of sexual assault in the early hours of September 17, 2016.

He had been out with a friend in Manchester, drinking for eight hours and visiting nightclubs and a lap-dancing bar before getting a taxi to the property.

After his arrest he offered to go to the house with flowers, wine and chocolates to apologise, but the court heard his victim, whose age was not given in court, felt "violated and vulnerable" following the assault.

Lisa Judge, mitigating, said the defendant's wife stood by him and he had "positive qualities" including running his own business and doing charity work.

Judge Maurice Greene said he would pass a 12-month jail sentence but the "unusual circumstances" of the case meant he could suspend it for 18 months.

He ordered Killen to 20 hours' rehabilitation activity and 200 hours' community service.


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