Former Arsenal and Everton striker Francis Jeffers warned his estranged wife would end up “in a coffin” in a series of vile messages.

Jeffers, 38, sent the Whatsapp messages to ex-partner Lucy after seeing her in the company of another man.

Jeffers, who is now a youth coach at Everton , appeared at Liverpool Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

He pleaded guilty to sending a grossly offensive message via a public communications network

The couple had been together for 20 years, 10 of those spent married, but split this year and are now finalising their divorce.

Francis Jeffers leaves court

Francis Jeffers and estranged wife Lucy

Sophie Leyland, prosecuting, told the court: “They were in a relationship for approximately 20 years, and have been married for 10 years.

“The victim contacted police on June 1 reporting ongoing issues with the defendant, and part of the complaint was in relation to the break down in their relationship.

“On May 29 there were messages sent via WhatsApp to the victim making reference to the fact her life was over and referencing a coffin. The victim felt this was a threat to her life.”

Francis Jeffers celebrates after scoring for Arsenal

Chair of the magistrates’ bench, Peter Fisher, has prohibited the former footballer from entering her home and city centre coffee shop, under the terms of a 12-month restraining order.

Jeffers was fined £625 and ordered to pay £85 court costs and a £62 victim surcharge.

Defence lawyer Jeremy Hawthorn said: “He is a man of hitherto good character. He has a sporting career as his main achievement and he passes on that experience to the next generation as a full time coach.

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“At the end of May there was a bit of a break down, on one evening he sees her in the company of another man, and tempers that had probably been bubbling away and would have come to a head, erupts and he sends those messages that he regrets.”

Francis Jeffers scores for England in 2003

Francis Jeffers of Everton

Jeffers came through the ranks at Everton as a teenager, making his senior debut at the age of 16.

He developed a “fox in the box” reputation and moved to Arsenal in 2001, but failed to live up to expectations in north London.

The ex-striker, who also won one England cap, returned to Goodison Park briefly on loan and also had spells at Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton – as well as stints in Australia and Malta.





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