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Friday, 16 November, 2001, 18:29 GMT
Leeds player 'stamped on student'
Jonathan Woodgate
Jonathan Woodgate denies he got involved
Leeds United footballer Jonathan Woodgate took a running jump and stamped on a "defenceless" student, a court has heard.

The 21-year-old England international joined in a fight with Leeds United midfielder Lee Bowyer, Hull Crown Court was told on Friday.

Mr Woodgate admitted he watched a "big free-for-all" in which a student was seriously injured but denied being involved in the violence and said he regretted not helping the victim.

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

All four defendants also deny affray in the incident in January last year.


You in particular were seen to take that running jump and stamp on the body of Sarfraz Najeib as he lay there defenceless and unconscious

Nicholas Campbell QC

Sarfraz Najeib, 21, received serious injuries in the alleged attack in Mill Hill, Leeds, including a broken nose, fractured cheekbone and a bite mark to his right cheek.

Mr Woodgate said he hurt his ankle when running from the Majestyk nightclub.

But Nicholas Campbell QC, prosecuting, accused Mr Woodgate of receiving the injury in the alleged attack.

He said Mr Woodgate saw his friend James Hewison punched outside the night club and then ran to catch the assailant and exact revenge.

Mr Campbell told the court that Mr Woodgate and Mr Bowyer had joined in the fight with their friends, who together were "working as a team".
Lee Bowyer
Mr Woodgate said he chased after Lee Bowyer

He told Mr Woodgate: "You in particular were seen to take that running jump and stamp on the body of Sarfraz Najeib as he lay there defenceless and unconscious."

Mr Campbell added: "You did not go over on your ankle.

"You kicked out in your drunken state, fell over but you recovered and you continued with the attack."

The prosecution also accused Mr Woodgate of conspiring with the other defendants to cover up the truth.

Mr Campbell said: "You have spoken to each of your co-accused since speaking to police in order to present the best possible picture of your activities that night."

In the witness box for a second day, the footballer said he hobbled down Mill Hill to what looked like "a big free-for-all" but took no part in the violence.


I realise I should have gone over. I should have gone over and helped

Jonathan Woodgate

The defender denied seeing the victim being stamped on or bitten, although he admitted seeing an Asian man on the ground and regretted not helping him.

"I just did not want to get involved in anything that had gone on.

"I realise I should have gone over. I should have gone over and helped."

He said he then met up with Leeds United defender Michael Duberry and they walked back to the Majestyk nightclub where Mr Woodgate was refused entry.

The jury was told that Mr Duberry then drove Mr Woodgate, Mr Clifford and Mr Caveney, along with two other friends from Middlesborough, back to his home in Leeds.
Sarfraz Najeib
Sarfraz Najeib suffered serious injuries

Mr Woodgate repeated claims he made on Thursday that Mr Duberry had lied to the court in order to save himself.

Mr Duberry, as a prosecution witness, had said that Mr Woodgate admitted to him that he had been in a fight and Mr Clifford had bitten someone.

Mr Duberry was cleared of conspiracy charges at the first trial, which was halted following a story in the Sunday Mirror.

The trial was adjourned until Tuesday.


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