Ex Norwich City player sentenced for sex assault in city nightclub
PUBLISHED: 11:28 14 March 2019 | UPDATED: 08:32 15 March 2019
A former Norwich City footballer has been ordered to do 140 hours of unpaid work after being found guilty of a city nightclub sex assault.
Robert Eagle, 31, had denied sexually assaulting a woman at the former Mercy nightclub on Prince of Wales Road.
But following a trial at Norwich Crown Court in January a jury of eight women and four men took just over two hours to find Eagle guilty of the sexual assault on February 4 2018.
Eagle was back in court today where he was sentenced to 140 hours unpaid work over the next 12 months. He was also put on the sex offenders register for five years and ordered to pay the victim £150 in compensation.
Jane Oldfield, prosecuting, read to the court part of the victim’s personal statement which described the “significant impact” the offence had on her life.
She was now “afraid” in public and social situations.
Joanne Eley, representing Eagle, said that apart from a previous conviction for drink driving there were no relevant convictions and he should be treated as someone of good character.
Recorder Douglas Herbert said: “You still do not accept the verdict of the jury, I understand that. However I have to sentence you on the basis of the verdict that was brought in by the jury in this case.”
Recorder Herbert said that having heard all that was said about Eagle during the trial and in support of him, he had “no doubt” that this was an offence which occurred on the “spur of the moment”.
He also agreed that this was not the “kind of behaviour he would normally get involved in”.
However he insisted it was “a very serious offence”.
The court heard that following his conviction Eagle, who coached young footballers, had been suspended by the Norfolk FA. That suspension had resulted in a loss of £125 a week.
The trial had heard that Eagle, who played for the Canaries 10 times, had been out with friends when the incident happened.
It was said Eagle had been in “high spirits” but had gone too far and “ended up sexually assaulting a woman at the nightclub”.
The court heard that when the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, “passed the defendant she felt a hand from behind go up her skirt and touch her over her underwear”.
The woman told the court how she felt being touched under the skirt.
Giving evidence she described how it “wasn’t just like a touch, it was more like a shove”. The witness said she turned around gave a reaction as if to say “What the hell?”
She said she then went to find security guards and told them “he groped me”.
Following today’s sentencing, Eagle continued to plead his innocence, saying he was “in the wrong place at the wrong time”.
Speaking outside court, when asked if he regretted the incident, he said: “I don’t regret it. I didn’t do anything. I didn’t touch her.”
Eagle, of Central Road, Leiston, said he now wanted to “get on with my life” following the case.
After his spell at Carrow Road Eagle went onto play for Lowestoft Town and most recently Leiston in Suffolk.