Windrum wins appeal after prosecutors offer no evidence
Ex-Crusaders and Hearts goalkeeper Lee Windrum has had his convictions for sexually assaulting two women overturned.
The former professional footballer and qualified dentist was found guilty on four counts of sexual assault by touching last July.
The 36-year-old had pleaded not guilty but was convicted by the judge and later handed a four-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £1,000 to each victim.
But Windrum won an appeal against those convictions in Belfast on Wednesday.
His lawyers turned up to court ready to fight their case, but the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) offered no evidence and the convictions were quashed.
A spokesman for the PPS said: “The PPS has a general duty to keep prosecution decisions under consideration and take into account any change in circumstances that occurs as a case proceeds.
“In this case, the evidence was no longer available to enable the case to proceed.
“All PPS decisions are taken impartially, independently and fully in line with the Code for Prosecutors.”
Windrum was originally found guilty of attacking the two women between January and February 2020 and then again in July.
He was further convicted of assaulting another woman. Now he has been cleared.
Before this appeal, a court previously heard how the convictions had impacted on Windrum’s life.
“There’s no doubt these are very serious offences, and the defendant acknowledges that,” his lawyer said.
“He’s a young man who comes before the court with no criminal convictions.
“People who know him from various backgrounds speak of what a hard-working and pleasant young man he is.
“His view is that he has ruined his life by these convictions. He has been suspended from practising as a dentist and there is no prospect of him continuing in that profession following these matters.
“He has effectively thrown away all his hard work by his actions.
“He accepts his behaviour was wrong and describes it as despicable. He has also indicated he has suffered greatly with his mental health.”
Sentencing Windrum last year, the judge said both victims had suffered mental health issues as a result of the attacks and one now fears leaving the house on her own.
Sunday Life previously approached Windrum for a comment on the case, but he declined to say anything about the matter.
The former goalie signed for Scottish Premiership side Hearts as a 16-year-old. He made just one substitute appearance under then manager Craig Levein before being released by the club.
Windrum went on to play for a string of lower league Scottish sides and Irish League teams, including Crusaders, Lisburn Distillery, Carrick Rangers, Glenavon, Harland & Wolff Welders and Knockbreda FC.
The qualified dentist had been employed at a number of practices in the Co Antrim and Co Down areas.
He was suspended by the General Dental Council on August 17, 2020, after referring himself over the charges.
In light of this recent development, its not known if he will seek to work as a dentist again.
Windrum appeared on the primetime ITV dating show Take Me Out in 2012.