Keith Gillespie in court in handcuffs

Published Friday, 28 February 2014
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Retired premiership footballer Keith Gillespie appeared in court in handcuffs on Friday after a judge ordered his arrest.

Keith Gillespie in court in handcuffs
Keith Gillespie turns up at court on Friday. (© Pacemaker)

Throughout the short, 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 this morning "by arrangement" on foot of a bench warrant issued on Thursday by District Judge Mark Hamill.

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

That charge was put to Gillespie on Friday.

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 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, who is from Ballycrochan Ave in Bangor, "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 warned the former footballer to "make sure there are no more misunderstandings".

Declared legally bankrupt in 2010, Gillespie wrote in his autobiography "how not to be a football millionaire," that he had spent around £7m as part of a gambling addiction.

In his playing career Gillespie earned 86 caps for Northern Ireland having made his debut in September 1994 in a 2-1 defeat against Portugal and finished his international career in 2008, playing a vital role in the famous 3-2 win against world and European champion Spain at Windsor Park in September 2006 when David Healy scored a hat trick.

Signed by Man United as a youngster in 1991, Gillespie played for the Red Devils until he was sold to Newcastle in 1995 where he came close to winning the Premiership title under Kevin Keegan.

Following his spell there, Gillespie turned out for Leicester City, Blackburn Rovers, Sheffield United and Bradford before making a shock move to east Belfast club Glentoran in 2009.

© UTV News
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1 Comments
Kate in Belfast wrote (234 days ago):
Great footballer always a legend in belfast
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