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Jailed Gills striker launches appeal

SOCCER star Marlon King is to appeal against his 18 month jail sentence. A High Court appeal was due to be launched after the Gillingham striker was jailed on Friday for handling stolen goods. King, 22, of Forest Hill, south east London, has the full backing of the club.

Chairman Paul Scally said he had spoken to King's father over the weekend and discussed how the club might assist the player's appeal against his lengthy prison sentence. The club's top goal scorer was convicted at an earlier trial in March, even though he insisted he had bought a stolen BMW worth £30,000 in good faith.

At the time of the sentence, Mr Scally described it as "very harsh" and was keen to help if possible.

He said: "We are approaching Marlon's legal team through his father and have said we will help in any way we can. There will definitely be an appeal against the severity of the sentence."

The club's manager Andy Hessenthaler admitted he was "absolutely devastated" when he heard the news of King's sentence and said: "Friday was a sad day for everybody connected with the club. He is our player and we will stand by him. Marlon may be feeling his career is over, but he is a strong character, and I will help him all I can. It's not going to be easy for him, and that's why he needs the support of his family, friends and the club."

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