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Wednesday, 14 August, 2002, 17:29 GMT 18:29 UK
Footballer 'tried to break up fight'
John Terry of Chelsea
John Terry told police he was trying to protect Des Byrne
A footballer accused of hitting a doorman in the face with a bottle told police he was only trying to break up a fight, a court heard.

Chelsea star John Terry said he only stepped in to stop an attack on his friend, Wimbledon player Des Byrne, at the Wellington club in Knightsbridge, central London, in January.

The jury at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court has seen CCTV footage of Mr Terry and Mr Byrne running back through the club's front door after apparently being thrown out.

In a police interview after the fight, Mr Terry admitted throwing a punch but denied hitting doorman Trevor Thirlwall in the face with a bottle.

Des Byrne of Wimbledon
Des Byrne said he was dragged into the club

He said: "Two or three people came from inside the club and ganged up on Des.

He added: "My intention wasn't to go flying through the door, it was to stop things more than anything."

Mr Terry, 23, his Chelsea team-mate Jody Morris, 21, and Mr Byrne, 21, face a charge of affray after being told to leave the private members' club on 4 January.

During the police interview, Detective Constable Nigel Bacon showed Mr Terry photographs of injuries to Mr Thirlwall's face and asked if he might have caused them.

Mr Terry said: "Of course it's possible, I don't know if that's definite, I'm saying it's possible.

"I threw a punch, I'm not going to stand there and let someone hit me am I?"

Mr Byrne told police he had been "dragged through" the door by a bouncer.


I had had a few drinks but I recall it clearly and I was not drunk

Jody Morris

He said: "I think there were a few verbals but I don't remember exactly.

"I'm feeling a bit sorry at the moment, that's all I'd like to say."

Mr Morris remained silent when he was interviewed by police.

But in a prepared statement he denied being aggressive and said he had tried to pull the group apart before stepping back when he realised he could not part them.

He said: "I had had a few drinks but I recall it clearly and I was not drunk."

Mr Terry denies wounding Mr Thirlwall with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and possessing a bottle as an offensive weapon.

Mr Byrne denies possessing a bottle as an offensive weapon.

The trial continues.


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See also:

13 Aug 02 | England
05 Aug 02 | England
05 Aug 02 | England
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