Rugby players charged with rape: hearing adjourned

A hearing where two Academy players were due to enter pleas after being charged with rape has been adjourned.

Friday, 9th December 2016, 1:50 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 1:48 pm
Bolton Crown Court

Lewis Heckford, 19, and Declan O’Donnell, 18, along with former Wigan Warriors Academy player Bradley Lawrence, 20, were due to enter pleas at Bolton Crown Court on Friday after being charged with an alleged rape and sexual assault.

O’Donnell, of Concorde Avenue, Wigan, has been charged with one count of rape and two counts of sexual assault.

Heckford, of Malvern Mews, Wakefield, and Lawrence, of Causeway Road, Seaton, Workington, are both charged with one count of rape.

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They first appeared at Bolton in November but the hearing was delayed after Judge Timothy Clayson felt significant changes were likely to be made to the indictments.

Wigan Warriors confirmed that two of its Academy players had been charged by Greater Manchester Police following an incident last year and that neither would be performing any playing or training duties following the first court appearance.

They were due to appear today, Friday, for a plea and trial preparation hearing but it was again adjourned until January 10.

A provisional trial date has been set for June 5. All three have been released on conditional bail.