A former Wakefield Wildcats and Castleford Tigers player has appeared in court charged with committing serious sexual offences against a woman.
Richard Owen, 26, appeared before Leeds Crown Court today accused of carrying out three offences of assault by penetration on the alleged victim on November 21 last year.
Owen, of Fryston Road, Castleford, is also accused of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against the same woman and stealing two mobile phones and an iPad from her on the same date.
Owen, who played winger for the Belle Vue club, has spent Christmas and New Year in custody since being arrested over the alleged offences.
He appeared via a video link from Armley jail, in Leeds.
Wearing a black t-shirt, Owen spoke only to confirm his name and to enter not guilty pleas to the five charges.
A trial, expected to last four days, will be held on May 22.
Owen was returned to custody.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats parted company with Owen in October last year.
The club said Owen left Trinity “by mutual consent” after scoring 11 tries in 33 appearances.
He joined them from Castleford in 2014, but suffered a broken leg in a game against Bradford Bulls in August 201, and did not feature in 2016.
A statement from Trinity said: “The club would like to thank Richard for his service and wish him all the best for the future.