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Swede assaulted by US women hoops players

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11:37 CET+01:00
Two American women basketball players have been remanded in custody by a Swedish court on suspicions of assaulting a man on the streets of Visby on the Baltic island of Gotland last weekend.

"We're talking about unprovoked violence from two people against someone who was lying defenceless on the ground," prosecutor Mats Wihlborg told the helagotland.se news website.

The two women, Ashleigh Brown and Jeannie Saunders of the Visby Ladies">Visby Ladies basketball team, were ordered held in custody in part over fears they could try to leave the country.

The highly inebriated man who is the victim of the alleged assault had a mobile phone belonging to the American women in his pocket, but no memory of how the phone ended up on his person.

When the women discovered that the man had the missing phone they grew very agitated, according to witnesses.

Screaming at him, they allegedly pushed him into a pile of snow and began hitting and kicking him.

Two of their team mates witnessed the incident.

The accused women have been suspended from the Visby Ladies basketball club and their contracts with the team have been terminated.

"We made it clear to [the women] that they represent the team in all circumstances. That's just how it is when you're a professional sports player," Visby Ladies' spokesperson Marco Leino told helagotland.se.

Brown, 23, denies assaulting the man, but has admitted she behaved aggressively toward the alleged victim, a man in his forties.

Saunders, 25, admits pushing the man in self-defence and then kicking him repeatedly.

The women have been remanded in custody for the two weeks remaining until the trial, as Gotland's district court concluded there was a risk of their either leaving the country or influencing the trial, as they're friendly with the main witnesses.

The Visby Ladies team has been left shocked by the incident.

"We're sad, disappointed, angry and confused. We're actually all a bit shocked. These are nice girls, and it's hard to see how they could've ended up in this situation," said Marco Leino.

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