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Friday, 16 August, 2002, 17:48 GMT 18:48 UK
Footballer breaks down during trial
Court drawing of John Terry
John Terry said he hit out to defend himself
Chelsea footballer John Terry broke down in tears as he denied glassing a nightclub bouncer in the face with a bottle.

Mr Terry, 21, wept as he told the jury he did not attack doorman Trevor Thirlwell, 28, at the exclusive Wellington nightclub in Knightsbridge, central London, on 4 January, 2002.

After two-and-a-half hours in the witness box Terry buried his head in his right hand and began wiping away tears.

Mr Terry later demonstrated at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court how he helped his friend, Wimbledon player Des Byrne, who he said was being attacked by bouncers at the The Wellington club in Knightsbridge.


I thought it was two on one and that's unfair

John Terry

He said doormen Mr Thirlwall and Shaun Brice, and Mr Thirlwall's brother Matthew, had "ganged up" on him during the scuffle.

He denied using a bottle but demonstrated the punch he threw at Mr Thirlwall - a straight jab with his right hand.

'I was attacked'

He said: "It was fairly hard. As far as I remember it, I hit him in his head, his face.

"The sole purpose was to get people off. I was being attacked by two, if not three, of them," he said.

But when he was asked to hold a brown beer bottle by the neck, he said there was "no truth at all" in the allegation that he had hit Mr Thirlwall in the face with a bottle.

Mr Terry, 23, his Chelsea team mate Jody Morris, 21, and Mr Byrne, 21, are alleged to have become violent after being thrown out of the club.

The jury has seen CCTV footage of Mr Terry and Mr Byrne running back through the club's front door after being asked to leave.

Friend 'kicked'

But the former England Under-21 captain told the court that he had only gone back in to protect Mr Byrne, who was allegedly being attacked by Mr Thirlwall and his brother.

He said: "I thought it was two on one and that's unfair.

"I had seen the young reception guy kick Des and I thought he was going to kick him again so I ran over and got Matthew Thirlwall off him.

Des Byrne
Des Byrne "went back into the club"

"That's when the three of them ganged up on me and started to attack me."

His counsel, Desmond De Silva, QC asked him: "Was there anything about that night that turned you into some violent creature that wanted to harm people?"

He replied: "No, not at all."

The footballer denied being drunk, but admitted drinking one or two pints of lager, two vodka-based drinks and a cocktail.

He 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, and all three players deny affray.

The trial continues.


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See also:

15 Aug 02 | England
14 Aug 02 | England
05 Aug 02 | England
05 Aug 02 | England
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