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Last Updated: Monday, 21 June, 2004, 15:27 GMT 16:27 UK
Ex-footballer guilty of presenter attack
Mark Aizlewood
Mark Aizlewood had denied both charges against him
Former Wales international footballer Mark Aizlewood has been found guilty of assaulting a television interviewer by pushing her down office stairs.

Aizlewood, 44, was told to pay fines and costs totalling 1,800 after grabbing BBC Wales presenter Jane Harvey, 32, around the neck.

She was attempting to interview him about complaints over a children's football holiday he had endorsed.

Mr Aizlewood denied assault and a public order offence when he appeared at Cardiff Magistrates' Court.

The court had been told that Aizlewood, from Chepstow, south Wales, was technical director of the Football Association of Wales Trust, which had endorsed a footballing holiday in Spain for children.

District judge Gerwyn Watkins said: "With hindsight it might have been better if you hadn't done this interview at all. Your conduct afterwards was entirely inappropriate."

He fined Aizlewood 1,000 for the assault, 500 for breaching public order, and ordered him to pay 300 costs.

BBC Wales consumer programme X-Ray received complaints about the holiday from parents of the children involved and presenter Harvey went to interview Aizlewood about it in June 2003.

Ms Harvey said she could tell on arrival at the trust's Cardiff offices that Aizlewood was "not very happy" and he repeatedly told her he was only prepared to answer one question.

"I felt he was trying to intimidate me but I stood my ground," she said.

Aizlewood, who was also working as a BBC commentator at the time, took off his microphone, pushed the camera into Ms Harvey's lap, and left the room, she told the court.

Jane Harvey
Jane Harvey was conducting an interview for BBC's X-Ray
The court was played the seven-minute tape of the alleged incident.

Ms Harvey told the hearing: "I got up and began asking him another question, whereupon he reappeared and appeared to have completely lost his temper."

The situation, she said, turned into "a brawl".

"He just seemed to have completely lost all reason. It was terrifying actually. There was lots of shouting and screaming," she added.

"It was a deliberate act to assault me. He just went berserk."

Ms Harvey said that the former Newport, Charlton, Leeds United,and Cardiff City player then approached her and pushed her down the stairs.

She said: "I was standing in a different room at the top of the stairs and the next thing I knew Mr Aizlewood approached me from behind (and) grabbed me around the neck which really hurt.

"He had his face close to mine and said 'get out of my office girl, you are not stitching me up'.

"And then still with his hand around my neck he pushed me down a flight of approximately 10 steps."

Ms Harvey said that the following day, she went to hospital because her neck was stiff and sore and had to take several days off work due to shock.

Cross-examining Ms Harvey, Steve Clarke, defending, suggested she had fallen down the stairs as she attempted to get away from Aizlewood.

She replied: "I was not anywhere near him, I was not asking him any questions. He just came up to do this to me."

Mr Clarke also suggested that if Ms Harvey had got a confrontation, it would make for better television.

"I completely refute that," she said.

"I have had no complaint about the way the interview was handled."




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