Tyne & Wear

Former Newcastle player Nile Ranger sentenced for assault

Image caption Ranger made his Premier League debut in 2010 for Newcastle United

Ex-Premier League striker Nile Ranger has been given a 12-month community order for pulling his girlfriend's hair during a row.

The 21-year-old former Newcastle United player admitted common assault on Shakira Bicar outside the city's Gate entertainment complex on 13 March.

He was released by Newcastle United after a series of off-pitch problems.

Newcastle magistrates heard the row happened when Ms Bicar was out with a male work colleague.

The hearing was told that on the night of the assault Ranger repeatedly contacted Ms Bicar on her phone and the couple then argued in the street.

Witnesses heard him tell someone on the phone "I'm going to grab her".

'Paid heavy price'

During a struggle, she kicked his leg and he pulled her by the hair towards the Gate car park in Newcastle city centre.

Witnesses called the police and, when he was arrested he told officers: "I grabbed her, yeah, I grabbed her."

Chairman of the Bench Chris Robinson ordered the player, of Edwins Avenue, Forrest Hall, to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work during a 12-month community order, nine months of which will be supervised.

Ranger offered to pay the £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge immediately.

No order was made for compensation as there was a possibility of reconciliation, the court heard.

Restraining order

Ranger's solicitor Geoffrey Forrester told the court the player hoped to resume his football career in the summer.

Mr Forrester said: "He has paid a heavy price for this. He has had to leave Newcastle United FC by way of settlement. It was not something he wanted to do.

"He brought it upon himself, he has to move on with his life."

The court heard that there had been previous "domestic incidents" between the couple at Ranger's house, which required the police, but there had never been a formal complaint.

Dealing with Ranger's previous convictions for drink-driving, battery and being drunk and disorderly, Mr Forrester said they happened within a six-week period in autumn 2011, and that the battery offences for which he was given 12-month conditional discharge happened when he struggled with police having been racially abused in the street by others.

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