Northern Ireland

Keith Gillespie appears in court in handcuffs

Keith Gillespie going into court Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Keith Gillespie arrives at Newtownards Magistrates' Court

Former Manchester United and Northern Ireland footballer Keith Gillespie has appeared in court in handcuffs after a judge ordered his arrest.

The 39-year-old former winger was handcuffed to a prison officer throughout the two-minute hearing in Newtownards, County Down.

He spoke only to confirm his name.

A police officer told the court that he arrested Mr Gillespie "by arrangement" after a bench warrant was issued for his arrest on Thursday.

Mr Gillespie, 39, of Ballycrochan Avenue, Bangor, County Down, had failed to turn up at Newtownards Magistrates' Court.

He had been on bail charged with breaching an order that required him to stay away from a particular area of north Down.

That charge was put to Mr Gillespie on Friday.

His solicitor said he 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," the solicitor said.

He said Mr Gillespie "immediately contacted our office" for the warrant to be executed.

Releasing Mr Gillespie on his own bail of £400, the district judge said he would put the non-appearance down to "miscommunication" but warned the former footballer to "make sure there are no more misunderstandings".