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EDITIONS
Thursday, 18 October, 2001, 16:58 GMT 17:58 UK
Attack witnesses 'did not see footballers'
Jonathan Woodgate outside Hull Crown Court on 15 October
Jonathan Woodgate denies all charges
A man who saw his friend beaten by a gang alleged to include Leeds United footballers Jonathan Woodgate and Lee Bowyer, said he could not remember seeing Mr Woodgate on the night of the attack.

The 21-year-old witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, broke down in court as he described his shock at witnessing the assault on Sarfraz Najeib in Leeds in January 2000.

During cross-examination by David Fish QC for Woodgate, the witness said that at the time he did not know who Woodgate was but he would now be able to recognise him from seeing him on television and in newspapers.

But when asked if he was able to identify Woodgate as doing any specific acts on the night of the attack, the witness said: "I can't remember seeing him that night."

His 20-year-old friend, who also witnessed the attack, told Hull Crown Court on the fourth day of the retrial that he was a football fan and would recognise Lee Bowyer.

But he said: "I didn't see him at all."

Emotional testimony

Mr Bowyer, 24, of Leeds, and Mr Woodgate, 21, of Middlesbrough, are accused of kicking and punching Mr Najeib, during the attack.

They deny causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Mr Najeib and affray.

Two of Mr Woodgate's friends, Paul Clifford and Neale Caveney, both 22 and from Middlesbrough, also deny the charges.

The 21-year-old witness was overcome with emotion when asked to describe how he felt seeing Mr Najeib surrounded by a gang who beat him so badly he was left with a broken leg, nose and cheekbone.

Lee Bowyer
Lee Bowyer: Accused of attack
He said: "It was just shock really, seeing someone get beaten up.

"You don't see it every day. That shocked me."

He said that after Mr Najeib's attackers left, he saw his brother Shahzad "trying to wake him up".

"His eyes were closed and there was a lot of blood coming out of his mouth," he said.

The two witnesses had been among a group, together with the victim, his brother and two friends, who fled after a confrontation with a group of white men outside the Majestyk nightclub in the centre of Leeds.

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