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Ranger gets community order for row

Former Newcastle striker Nile Ranger has been handed a 12-month community order and 120 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty to assaulting his girlfriend.

Ranger, 21, was appearing at Newcastle Magistrates' Court where he was also ordered to address unspecified "gambling issues". Despite the altercation with his girlfriend, Shakira Bicar, the couple are intending to stay together and thus a restraining order was rejected by magistrates.

The incident occurred at 7pm on Wednesday, March 13 outside The Gate entertainment complex in Newcastle city centre, where Ms Bicar was organising a social event with a male work colleague. Although she did not make a complaint to police, the altercation was witnessed by people standing nearby.

One witness overheard the defendant saying: "I'm going to grab her", before proceeding to drag Ms Bicar to the car park by her hair.

Released by Newcastle United in early March after a string of off-field incidents, Ranger's solicitor confirmed his client's intention to restart his professional playing career - admitting that this latest incident had forced him to leave the Magpies by settlement.

"Nile accepts that this was his doing, he brought this all on himself," Ranger's solicitor told magistrates. "He has paid a heavy price for this. He has had to leave Newcastle United by way of settlement, something he didn't want to do. He admits he was wrong."

The court was also informed of previous "domestic incidents" between the pair at Ranger's house in Forest Hall, North Tyneside, which required the police, although no formal complaint was made. Ranger offered to pay £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge immediately.