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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 November 2006, 13:03 GMT
Bellamy 'grabbed woman's throat'
Craig Bellamy outside court
Bellamy moved to Liverpool from Blackburn in June in a 6m transfer
Premiership footballer Craig Bellamy grabbed a woman by the throat after they bumped into each other at a Cardiff nightclub, a court has heard.

Cardiff magistrates heard how the Wales and Liverpool striker collided with Sophie Palmer, 19, before grabbing the wrist of her friend Holly Smith, 20.

Ms Palmer said he followed them along the corridor of Number 10 nightclub and grabbed her by the throat.

Mr Bellamy, 27, denies two counts of common assault.

Ms Palmer, now 20, from Barry, near Cardiff, said she encountered Mr Bellamy as she walked along a corridor to the VIP bar with two friends on 5 February 2006.

"I began to walk through the gap and Craig Bellamy was walking in the other direction and he bumped into me. He was quite aggressive, he was just swaggering around," she said.

"I turned around and said to him: 'Excuse me why couldn't you wait in that gap there?'"

He grabbed me with both hands around the neck and held me up against the wall and he was squeezing
Sophie Palmer

She said Mr Bellamy swore at her, saying she was too fat to get around and called her a "slag".

Asked how she responded, Ms Palmer said: "I shrugged it off, said 'whatever' and kept walking in the direction I was going."

Soon after, Ms Palmer said, she turned around to see her friend Holly Smith "having words" with Mr Bellamy.

"I can't remember if he pushed her or she pushed him first, but they both pushed each other," she said, adding that the footballer proceeded to follow her.

No 10 nightclub
Sophie Palmer had once worked behind the bar at No 10

"He grabbed me with both hands around the neck and held me up against the wall and he was squeezing," she said.

She said people shouted "get him off her" and then somebody intervened.

"I pointed him out to the bouncer and said: 'That's the guy who just strangled me,'" Ms Palmer added.

She told the court that Mr Bellamy's friend and sometime minder Franklin Lynch grabbed her with both hands and forced her out of the VIP room.

She said he pushed her to the nightclub door where he held her by the neck and told door staff to remove her.

I pointed him out to the bouncer and said 'that's the guy who just strangled me'
Sophie Palmer

Ms Palmer, who once worked behind the bar at the club, said doormen calmed Mr Lynch down and he released her. Mr Lynch denies a charge of common assault.

Ms Palmer said she suffered bruising to her arms and neck and scarring on her chest from recent surgery started to bleed.

Mike Hammett, prosecuting, told magistrates that when interviewed by officers, Mr Bellamy said he had caught the eye of one of the women who asked "what he was looking at".

He said he replied: "If I was looking at anyone it would be those two behind you because they are far prettier."

Mr Bellamy said the woman slapped him and he made a counter complaint to the police.

During cross examination by defence counsel John Charles Rees, Ms Palmer denied knowing who Mr Bellamy was or being an "attention seeker".

The trial continues.

Sophie Palmer's claims against Craig Bellamy

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