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Thursday, 15 November, 2001, 12:54 GMT
Leeds player denies student attack
Jonathan Woodgate
Jonathan Woodgate denies all charges
Leeds and England footballer Jonathan Woodgate has denied attacking a young Asian student during a pub crawl.

Mr Woodgate told the jury at Hull Crown Court he was not "steaming drunk" though he had been drinking on a night out with friends in Leeds.


I remember looking up the road and looking back and I saw something going off

Jonathan Woodgate
He said he had not used any violence on the night Sarfraz Najeib was beaten in Leeds city centre following a confrontation outside a nightclub.

Mr Woodgate, 21, of Middlesbrough, his team-mate Lee Bowyer, 24, of Leeds, 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.

They also deny affray.

Asked by his counsel, David Fish QC, if he had attacked or injured Mr Najeib, he replied: "No, I didn't."

He denied using or threatening violence.

Mr Woodgate told Hull Crown Court how he had tried to stop a row between his friend and two other white men outside a nightclub after an evening out in Leeds.

He and friends from Middlesbrough had been on a pub crawl around Leeds.

In the first pub, they drank alcopops Mule and Bacardi Breezer before going to a lap dancing club.

"You pay to get in. I didn't have a drink because they did not serve anything that I like," he said.

Karaoke

At another pub, he described how his friend James Hewison had seemed "a bit drunk" and was not allowed to sing karaoke because it was closing time.

They went to another pub before going to the Majestyk nightclub.

Mr Woodgate said: "I knew that I had had a drink, but I was not steaming drunk."

He said he was in control and walking properly but had to vouch for his friend Mr Hewison to get him into the club.

Once inside, he told the court he drank bottled beer and denied a claim by a witness that he had been holding a glass of champagne.

Argument outside club

He later went outside where Mr Hewison was arguing with two other white men and tried to calm him down.

Mr Woodgate said: "I remember looking up the road and looking back and I saw something going off.

"A punch or a push or something between some Asians and Jamie (Hewison).

"I remember everyone just started running. I went to see what was going on."

He said he was running at the back of the group and remembered Lee Bowyer passing him but he then went over on his ankle.

"My ankles are generally weak," he said.

He said he then heard "loads of shouting" and hobbled to the corner of Mill Hill and saw a group of people but did not join them.

"It was dark. There was just loads of stuff going on down there," he said.


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14 Nov 01 | England
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