England

Poole speedway rider Darcy Ward on sex assault charge

Darcy Ward
Image caption Darcy Ward helped Poole Pirates to this year's Elite League title

A speedway rider has appeared in court charged with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl at a hotel in Dorset.

Poole Pirates' Darcy Ward, 19, is accused of assaulting the Coventry teenager at a Premier Inn in Poole between 16 and 19 August.

A 17-year-old boy, from Swindon in Wiltshire, also appeared charged with three counts of sexual assault and rape in connection with the incident.

The pair were bailed to appear at Bournemouth Crown Court next week.

Club 'transparent'

Mr Ward's solicitor told the court that his client categorically denied the charge and would fight the claims "until the bitter end".

The 19-year-old rider, from Sturminster Marshall, Wimborne, Dorset, won the Speedway Elite League Championship with Poole this year.

In a statement, Poole Pirates said: "[We] are aware of the situation regarding one of (our) assets and have taken steps to ensure that the rider is represented legally with the best possible advice.

"The club will always remain transparent and will help with any inquiries from the police should they arise.

"However, we would ask the public not to jump to conclusions and allow the legal system to take its course."

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