St Mirren star spared jail for police assault

A Scots Premiership footballer has been sentenced to 130 hours of unpaid work and a one-year supervision order for attacking two police officers.

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St Mirren player Paul McGowan admitted kicking police constable Edward Gilmartin and repeatedly kicking police constable Tony Fitzpatrick in Airdrie and at Coatbridge police station on August 11, last year.

Sheriff Frank Pieri told McGowan, who has a previous conviction for police assault, that his punishment was a ­direct alternative to custody.

The 26-year-old pleaded guilty to the double assault at Airdrie Sheriff Court last month and returned for sentencing yesterday.

Sheriff Pieri told him: ­"People who act in this way towards police officers can expect a prison sentence, especially with someone like your record.

"However, I am prepared to deal with you in this way as a direct alternative to custody."

Outside court, McGowan said: "I'm not allowed to say anything but I would have taken that if you'd have asked me."

The sentence of 130 hours of unpaid work was reduced from 170 hours on account of his ­early guilty plea.

McGowan was told that as part of his community payback order he may have to meet with the Meridian Alcohol Counselling service.

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