Former North-East professional footballer admits sex attack on young woman

Chris Killen at crown court on Wednesday.
Chris Killen at crown court on Wednesday.

A former North-East professional footballer has admitted sexually assaulting a young woman as she slept in her bed.

Ex-Middlesbrough striker Chris Killen, 35, was in a "stupefied state" from alcohol when he went into the spare bedroom of the house the woman was staying at in Bury, Greater

Manchester, and touched her sexually.

Killen, who played 17 times and scored three goals for Boro in the 2009-10 season, had pleaded not guilty at an earlier hearing but admitted the offence shortly before he was due to go

on trial before a jury at Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, on Wednesday.

He stood in the dock and admitted a single charge of committing sexual assault last year.

Lisa Judge, defending, said the guilty plea had been made on a "specific basis" as to what Killen had admitted doing and this had been accepted by the prosecution.

The basis of the plea was not given in court and no further details about the sexual assault were made public.

Miss Judge said Killen, of London Road, Adlington, near Macclesfield, had "no relevant" previous convictions.

Gary Woodall, prosecuting, said Killen's basis of plea was "inconsistent" with the complainant's statement to police.

But after "lengthy discussion" Mr Woodall said the complainant had "taken the lead" and there would now not be a trial given Killen's admission of guilt.

Judge Maurice Greene adjourned for the preparation of pre-sentence and psychiatric reports on the defendant.

He gave Killen bail but added: "At the end of the day this was a sexual assault on a sleeping young woman. It's a serious matter.

"All sentencing options will remain open to the court."

New Zealand-born Killen represented his country in the 2010 World Cup after playing for Middlesbrough and Celtic and starting his career with Man City as a trainee.

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

He will be sentenced on August 1.