Manchester

Ex-footballer Chris Killen spared jail after sex attack

Chris Killen Image copyright Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Image caption Chris Killen, 35, admitted the charge of sexual assault shortly before he was due to go on trial in June

A former professional footballer has been spared jail after sexually assaulting a sleeping woman.

Ex-Oldham Athletic and Celtic player Chris Killen, 35, earlier admitted the offence, Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard.

The victim cried out to her friend, who saw Killen via the light on her phone, during the attack on 17 September 2016.

Killen, of Adlington, Cheshire, was given a 12 month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.

The court heard the married father of two was in a "stupefied state" - following an eight hour drinking binge at nightclubs and a lap-dancing bar with a friend - when he got a taxi to the house in Bury which was rented out by a firm he has an interest in.

He let himself in through unlocked patio doors and went into the spare bedroom.

'Violated and vulnerable'

Killen then got into bed next to the woman - who was sleeping alongside her friend - when she became aware of a man next to her and "froze" before feeling a hand on her behind, the court heard.

When the friend was woken by her calling out, Killen removed his hand and sat up in bed.

The friend demanded to know who he was and what he was doing there.

Prosecutor Gary Woodhall told the court Killen claimed his name was "John" and that he had arrived at the house with "two girls". He then quickly left the room, only to return shortly after to ask for his shoes back, the court heard.

The New Zealand international admitted the offence shortly before he was due to go on trial in June after earlier pleading not guilty.

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

His playing career also included stints at Hibernian, Norwich, Oldham Athletic, Port Vale and Wrexham.

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

In her victim impact statement she said she had "not really been myself since it happened".

Lisa Judge, mitigating, said Killen's apology "is a full and frank one".

Killen was ordered to do 20 hours rehabilitation activity and 200 hours community service and must sign the sex offenders' register for the next 10 years.

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