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Wednesday, 14 November, 2001, 12:17 GMT
Leeds player 'was assaulted'
Lee Bowyer attending court
Mr Bowyer claimed he was never at the fight scene
Leeds United footballer Lee Bowyer told detectives he was also assaulted on the night a student was brutally attacked, a court was told.

A jury at Hull Crown Court heard police interview tapes of Mr Bowyer describing how he was punched and kicked in the head after falling over.

Mr Bowyer, 24, said he was running after team mate Jonathan Woodgate and was never at the spot where Sarfraz Najeib was beaten senseless.

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

The court was told that after being cautioned and charged with grievous bodily harm on the 21-year-old, Mr Bowyer said: "I took a whack. I don't understand why I am here."

Nightclub

Mr Bowyer told detectives in the interview, six days after Mr Najeib was attacked on January 12 of last year, that he ran after Mr Woodgate, away from the Majestyk nightclub in Leeds city centre.


I remember taking a whack and can't remember anything after that until I was walking back to the club

Lee Bowyer
He said a doorman told him which way Mr Woodgate, 21, had gone and added: "I thought I would try and go and see if he could come back in or if he had done anything wrong."

The court was told that in the interview Mr Bowyer said he had just overtaken his team mate when he fell over.

"Somebody whacked me," he said. "I would have thought personally it was a kick.

Sarfraz Najeib
Sarfraz Najeib suffered a broken cheek bone
"I remember taking a whack and can't remember anything after that until I was walking back to the club."

The Leeds player told police he carried on running past Mr Woodgate because he could see there was "a load of people fighting".

He said: "Jonathan looked as if he didn't want anything to do with it.

"I went past him to see what was happening. That's when I fell over and took a whack."

The case continues.


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