BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 20 November, 2001, 21:39 GMT
Leeds player 'seen near attack site'
Sarfraz Najeib
Mr Najeib suffered serious injuries
Leeds United footballer Lee Bowyer told a jury that he saw his team-mate Jonathan Woodgate coming from a street in which a student was brutally attacked.

But Mr Bowyer, 24, said he himself had never been in Mill Hill, Leeds, where Sarfraz Najeib was beaten senseless in January last year.


I was never in Mill Hill at any stage. I told the police that from day one

Lee Bowyer

Mr Bowyer, of Leeds, Mr Woodgate, 21, of Middlesbrough, Paul Clifford and Neale Caveney, both 22 and from Middlesbrough, deny causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Mr Najeib. All four also deny affray.

Mr Bowyer told the jury at Hull Crown Court on Tuesday that he had jogged after Mr Woodgate and his friends, believing they were heading to a lap-dancing club.

But Mr Bowyer claims he fell over close to Mill Hill and while getting up from the ground was kicked or punched in the head by a mystery attacker.

Lee Bowyer
Bowyer said he was attacked by a mystery person

The England U-21 midfielder told his counsel, Desmond de Silva QC: "I never went into Mill Hill. Not at the start, not during, not at the end.

"I was never in Mill Hill at any stage. I told the police that from day one."

Mr Najeib, 21, of Rotherham, South Yorkshire, suffered serious injuries in the attack, including a fractured nose, broken cheekbone and a bite mark to his right cheek.

'Celebrating birthday'

Mr Bowyer told the court he had been celebrating his birthday, which had been eight days earlier, with team-mates Harry Kewell and Michael Bridges.

He said they had drunk wine at Mr Kewell's house and then visited a pub in Leeds city centre before going to the Majestyk nightclub. By then he had drunk "five or six" glasses of wine.

Mr Bowyer told the court he had more wine in the nightclub where he met Mr Woodgate and his friends from Middlesbrough.

He was told that Mr Woodgate had been "thrown out" of the nightclub because of the drunken behaviour of his friend James Hewison.

Jonathan Woodgate
Woodgate denies attacking Sarfraz Najeib

Mr Bowyer, believing Mr Woodgate and his friends were going to a lap-dancing bar called DV8, left the nightclub to look for them and then fell over.

The footballer said he was "tipsy" but not drunk, adding: "Drunk is when you can't walk or can't see."

He told the jury: "It was a funny fall. I got winded. Then as I was getting myself together I seemed to get some sort of a whack.

"I got a kick or someone pushed my head to the ground. That made me dizzy."

Mr Bowyer said as he was recovering he saw Mr Woodgate coming "out of the corner" of Mill Hill.

'Bumped and jostled'

He crossed the road towards his team-mate and as he reached the other side he was "bumped and jostled" by a group of about six men who came running out of Mill Hill.

The only one he recognised was former Leeds United reserve team striker Tony Hackworth.

He was asked about CCTV footage that showed Mr Caveney throwing an arm around him "in a clinch", moments after the attack on Mr Najeib.

Mr Bowyer said he did not recognise himself on the film but accepted it was him because some of Mr Caveney's blood was found on the back of his leather jacket.

He said he was often greeted because he was a professional footballer. "Some people come up to you and kiss you. There are a number of ways people greet you. There's loads."

The trial continues.


Latest news

Reaction

Profiles

FEATURES

AUDIO VIDEO
Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes