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Monday, 22 October, 2001, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
Footballer 'admitted to fight'
Jonathan Woodgate
Jonathan Woodgate denies all charges
Leeds United footballer Jonathan Woodgate told his team-mate Michael Duberry that he had been in a fight, shortly after a brutal attack on a student, a court has been told.

Mr Duberry, 26, told Hull Crown Court that he met Mr Woodgate in City Square, Leeds, on 11 January last year when 21-year-old Sarfraz Najeib was attacked.

Mr Najeib of Rotherham, South Yorkshire, suffered multiple injuries, including a broken leg and bite mark to his right cheek, in the attack.

He told the jury that he had a conversation with Mr Woodgate, during which he mentioned a fight.

Sarfraz Najeib
Sarfraz Najeib spent seven days in hospital
"The words were, I think, we have just been in a fight," said Mr Duberry.

He said one of Mr Woodgate's friends, Paul Clifford, was walking just behind them and Mr Woodgate had told him that Mr Clifford had bitten someone.

Mr Woodgate 24, of Middlesbrough, and team-mate Lee Bowyer, 21, of Leeds, are accused of kicking and punching Mr Najeib, during the attack outside the Majestyk nightclub.

They deny causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Mr Najeib and affray. Mr Clifford and Neale Caveney, both 22 and from Middlesbrough, also deny the charges.

Mr Duberry told the jury he had been playing for Leeds United reserves on day of the attack. After the game he returned to Leeds and went to the Majestyk nightclub.

'Confessed'

The jury heard that Mr Duberry left the club at 12.50am and saw a group of people across the street, including Mr Woodgate.

He said Mr Woodgate walked with him back towards the club and confessed that he had been in a fight and his friend Mr Clifford had bitten someone.


It just escalated into one big story that wasn't the truth

Michael Duberry
Mr Woodgate was not allowed back into the club, so Mr Duberry drove him, Mr Clifford, Mr Caveney and two other friends to his home in Woodlesford, Leeds, the court was told.

Mr Duberry said when they got to his house Michael Bridges, another Leeds United player, rang him on his mobile phone asking if he had seen Mr Woodgate.

The court was told that Mr Woodgate went into the hallway to speak to Mr Bridges.

'Shocked'

"Woody came back into the room and explained that the lad was in a bad way, that there was police and ambulance there," said Mr Duberry.

Mr Duberry said Mr Woodgate appeared "shocked" and the room fell silent."

Mr Duberry admitted having lied to police when he was interviewed following the attack, when cross examined by David Fish QC, for Mr Woodgate.

"At the beginning it was just to help Woody out and it just escalated into one big story that wasn't the truth," he told the jury.

The trial has been adjourned until Tuesday.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Catherine Marston in Hull
"Michael Duberry insists the evidence he is giving to this trial is the truth"

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