The signing of controversial goalkeeper Luke McCormick was among three deals Oxford United concluded just before the transfer deadline last night.
Justin Richards will also stay until the end of the season, while Tyrone Marsh was loaned out to Staines Town for the rest of the campaign.
Of the three deals, McCormick’s will undoubtedly capture the most attention.
The goalkeeper was sentenced to more than seven years in prison after admitting to killing two children in a car crash in 2008.
McCormick, who was more than twice over the drink-drive limit when it happened, was released last summer after serving three and a half years.
He trained with Swindon Town, but was not offered a contract and instead joined Truro City on non-contract terms in November.
The 29-year-old is in line to start for United at Southend tomorrow, which would be his first appearance in the Football League for almost five years.
United chairman Ian Lenagan said: “The tragic events in Luke’s past will never go away and that is something he will have to bear for the rest of his days. He made the biggest mistake of his life and no amount of apologies will ever change what happened. He served his sentence and knows what he did was wrong.
“As a club we have thought long and hard about whether to employ a player with his background.
“But his clear repentance and the opportunity to allow him to rehabilitate while meeting our unique goalkeeping situation within the salary cap – which we might otherwise not have been able to do – resulted in our decision to sign him.”
United boss Chris Wilder said: “I have spoken to Luke at length and he knows that it will not be easy for him, but he is very humble and wants to try and make the most of the opportunity.”
Richards joined United for a second spell earlier last month as cover for James Constable’s suspension.
The four-week loan was due to expire after this weekend, but the 32-year-old agreed a settlement with parent club Burton Albion yesterday for the remainder of his contract, which was up in the summer.
The striker has now signed a contract with the U’s for the rest of the season.
Wilder said: “I think he’s what’s needed going into the run-in.”
Richards arrival paved the way for Marsh to go out on loan.
The 19-year-old has made five senior appearances this season, scoring his first goal last month against Southend in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Wilder had intended to loan Marsh out earlier in the season, but injuries to other players prevented a move.
Now he hopes the striker can benefit from playing week-in week-out at the Blue Square Bet South strugglers.
He said: “Ty’s done well in and around the squad, but we need to see him go and play regular games.”