BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: England  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Thursday, 22 August, 2002, 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK
Footballers cleared over club brawl
John Terry and his solicitor Steven Barker
John Terry had been under "enormous stress"
Three footballers have been cleared of starting a violent brawl at an exclusive London nightclub.

Chelsea players John Terry, 21, Jody Morris, 23, and Wimbledon's Des Byrne, 21, were all cleared of affray at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court on Thursday.


You are a young man who has yet to learn that fame and wealth bring responsibility.

Judge Fabyan Evans to Des Byrne
They said they were defending themselves from bouncer Trevor Thirlwall when a fight broke out in a nightclub entrance.

Byrne was found guilty of possessing an offensive weapon and fined 2,000.

He admitted throwing a bottle as Mr Thirlwall and fellow doorman Shaun Brice made their way back into the club, but denied intending to hit them.

He was also ordered to pay costs of 1,000 and faces 45 days in prison if he defaults on the fine.

Jody Morris
Jody Morris was acquitted of all charges
The three players were thrown out of The Wellington, a private members' club in Knightsbridge, on 4 January.

Byrne's lawyer said Mr Thirlwall had shouted a racist insult at his Dublin-born client.

Mr Terry said he had forced his way back in because his friend was being "ganged up on" by the bouncer and his brother Matthew.

The fight started inside the club's reception area, where it was caught on CCTV, and spilled outside.

Tears

Mr Terry left the court in tears after being cleared of causing Mr Thirlwall serious facial injuries by hitting him in the face with a beer bottle.

After the case all three players were said to want to put the incident behind them and concentrate on their careers.

Outside the court Mr Terry's solicitor, Steven Barker, said his client had been under enormous stress because of the "monstrous allegations" against him.

Mr Barker said: "He is extremely relieved and pleased at this verdict, his words were that justice has been done."

Byrne's former coach Pat Dolan told BBC News that the player had made a mistake and regretted the incident.

What is affray?
Intentionally using or threatening unlawful violence such as would cause a reasonable person to fear for his safety

He said: "He is not in the same money bracket and he recognises now he should not have been out with those lads at the time and needs to concentrate on his football.

"Des Byrne could be the biggest victim of this now because his club, Wimbledon, are not in the same financial situation that Chelsea are in.

Des Byrne
Des Byrne 'reacted to racist abuse' by throwing a bottle
"They will look at Des's behaviour and there will be repercussions."

Mr Morris's solicitor, Angus McBride, read a statement from the player outside the court.

It said: "I should never have been charged with these offences.

"I am angry and upset, I have had this allegation hanging over me for seven months."

Sentencing Byrne, Judge Fabyan Evans said: "You are a young man who has yet to learn that fame and wealth bring responsibility.

"I take into account your good character and references that have been heard."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"The solicitor saying the whole experience had been a nightmare"
The BBC's Jane Peel:
"As the final verdict was read out, Mr Terry choked back tears"

Click here to go to BBC London Online
See also:

22 Aug 02 | Chelsea
22 Aug 02 | UK
22 Aug 02 | Football
22 Aug 02 | Chelsea
22 Aug 02 | Chelsea
22 Aug 02 | Chelsea
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes