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Ex-Norwich City player found guilty of sexually assaulting woman in Mercy nightclub

PUBLISHED: 17:58 23 January 2019 | UPDATED: 18:26 23 January 2019

Former Norwich City player Robert Eagle. Picture: Archant

Former Norwich City player Robert Eagle. Picture: Archant

Archant © 2006

A former Norwich City footballer has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in a nightclub.

Robert Eagle, 31, had gone on trial at Norwich Crown Court accused of sexual assault following an incident at the former Mercy nightclub on Prince of Wales Road.

The jury of eight women and four men were told that Eagle, who played for the Canaries 10 times, had been out with friends on February 4 last year when the incident happened.

It is 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 alleged 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”.

Eagle, of Central Road, Leiston, Suffolk, had denied sexual assault.

But today (Wednesday, January 23) the jury took just over two hours to find the defendant guilty of sexual assault.

Eagle, who was dressed in a white shirt and dark tie and who has a beard and short mousy-blond hair, appeared to shake his head as the verdict was announced.

Recorder Douglas Herbert adjourned sentencing until March 14 so that reports can be carried out.

The court had heard that Eagle, who has gone onto play for Lowestoft Town and most recently Leiston in Suffolk, had been out with friends at the club and had been in “high spirits” but had gone too far and “ended up sexually assaulting a woman at the nightclub”.

The woman told the court how she felt being touched under her 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”.’

In her closing address to the jury Jane Oldfield, prosecuting, said there was “no dispute” that the victim was entitled not to be assaulted by drunken men.

She said there was “no dispute this was a sexual assault which goes way beyond drunken boisterousness”.

She said the question for the jury was whether they were sure Eagle was the man who assaulted the woman.

She said: “The prosecution say that you can be sure he was”.

She told the jury that despite “all the wonderful things” they had heard about Eagle it did not mean he did not do a “very stupid thing” and a criminal thing.

Eagle was granted bail until the sentencing hearing in March.

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