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Ex-Northern Ireland footballer Gillespie appears in court in handcuffs

Former Premiership and Northern Ireland footballer Keith Gillespie arrives at Newtownards court

Former Premiership and Northern Ireland footballer Keith Gillespie arrives at Newtownards court

Retired premiership footballer Keith Gillespie appeared in court in handcuffs on Friday after a judge ordered his arrest.

Throughout the two-minute hearing at Newtownards Magistrates Court 39-year-old winger Gillespie remained handcuffed to a prison officer, speaking only to confirm his name.

A police officer told the court that he arrested Gillespie on Friday morning “by arrangement” following a bench warrant issued by District Judge Mark Hamill, when he failed to appear in court on Thursday.

The former winger for Leicester, Newcastle United and Manchester United had been due to appear charged with breaching a non-molestation order on January 21 this year by being “in the vicinity of the Hamilton Road”.

That charge was put to Gillespie when he appeared.

Solicitor Darren Duncan said Gillespie had failed to turn up to court as ordered because of an “oversight” on his part, believing that he was not due to be in court until next month.

“The first he became aware [that he was due in court] was when he was contacted by a media outlet,” said Mr Duncan adding that Gillespie “immediately contacted our office” for the warrant to be executed.

Releasing Gillespie on his own bail of £400, Judge Hamill said he would put the non-appearance down to “miscommunication”.

But he warned the former footballer to “make sure there are no more misunderstandings”.

Gillespie, of Ballycrochan Avenue, Bangor. won 86 caps for the Northern Ireland national team, debuting in September 1994.

He later switched from English football to the Irish league, signing up in 2009 to east Belfast’s Glentoran.

 
 
 

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