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Wednesday, 7 November, 2001, 21:02 GMT
Bite mark 'matched star's friend'
Jonathan Woodgate
Jonathan Woodgate denies all charges
Teeth marks on the cheek of a student matched the unusual dental pattern of Leeds United defender Jonathan Woodgate's friend, a court has heard.

Dental expert Dr Geoffrey Craig told Hull Crown Court the injury near 21-year-old Sarfraz Najeib's ear showed the same characteristics as the lower teeth of Paul Clifford.

They had a "highly distinctive" U-shape, the court heard.


I identified the cast from Mr Clifford as having features very reminiscent of the injuries

Dr Geoffrey Craig
Dental expert
Dr Craig said this was in complete contrast with the semi-circular tooth pattern of other men whose casts were taken.

Mr Najeib suffered a broken cheekbone and leg as well as other injuries after the attack in Mill Hill, Leeds, near the Majestyk night club in the city centre.

Dr Craig told the trial that casts have been taken of the teeth of six men - Mr Woodgate, Leeds midfielder Lee Bowyer, co-accused Mr Clifford and Neale Caveney, and two other men, Anthony Robinson and Leeds reserve striker Anthony Hackworth.

Charges denied

"I identified the cast from Mr Clifford as having features very reminiscent of the injuries," Dr Craig said.

"That is a replica of the pattern of the injury we see close to the ear of Sarfraz Najeib."

Mr Woodgate, 21, Mr Bowyer, 24, of Leeds and co-accused Paul Clifford and Neale Caveney, both 22 and from Middlesbrough, deny causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Mr Najeib, from Rotherham, South Yorkshire. They also deny affray.

Dr Craig said he had studied photographs of Mr Najeib's injury and later examined him personally.

The bite mark on his cheek would probably leave him permanently scarred and showed that the teeth had penetrated his skin.

Remote chance

He had been told by police that a witness had identified Clifford as carrying out the biting of Mr Najeib at the scene of the attack.

Dr Craig said the chances of anyone else having the same distinctive pattern of lower teeth as Clifford would be "extremely remote".

He said although he personally would not put a figure on the chances against it, one study had led him to conclude it could be one in 200,000 people or even greater.

Dr Craig said: "It is extremely remote you would come across a set of lower front teeth with exactly these characteristics."

'Absolute certainty'

Dr Craig was asked by trial judge Mr Justice Henriques with what degree of certainty he was able to say that the injuries were caused by Mr Clifford's teeth.

The forensic dentist said: "In the context of those suspects I was asked to examine - absolute certainty."

But asked whether it was possible that someone else in the world could have produced the same pattern of injury, Dr Craig replied: "I am as certain as I can be, but I can't be 100% in that context."

The trial was adjourned until Thursday.


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