[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 9 January, 2004, 08:39 GMT
Footballers face no rape charges
Carlton Cole and Titus Bramble denied wrongdoing
Mr Cole (left) and Mr Bramble denied any wrongdoing
Four men including two footballers questioned over an alleged rape at a London Hotel will not face charges, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

A 17-year-old girl had told police she was raped at the Grosvenor Hotel on 27 September 2003.

But on Thursday the CPS said it had told Scotland Yard there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.

Footballers Carlton Cole and Titus Bramble were named as two of the four men but denied any wrongdoing.

We have concluded that there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction
Claire Ward
CPS
Mr Bramble, 22, who plays for Newcastle United, and Mr Cole, 19, who is on loan to Charlton from Chelsea, were arrested and questioned on 19 October.

A third man, 29-year-old Nicholas Meikle, who had also been arrested issued his own statement denying any wrongdoing.

In the CPS statement, specialist rape prosecutor Claire Ward said the case had been reviewed.

"We have concluded that there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction against any of the four suspects for any offence," she said.

A senior barrister called in by the CPS to give an independent opinion came to the same conclusion.

The girl who made the complaint and solicitors for the four men were informed by police before the statement was released.

Girl 'distraught'

Max Clifford, spokesman for the teenager: "I have just spoken to the girl and her father and they are both devastated. She is distraught.

"From everything that has been said by the police in the last couple of months to them, they were totally convinced that it would go ahead."

This significant announcement marks the closure to an exhaustive four-month police investigation
Graham Shear
Mr Bramble and Mr Cole's lawyer
Asked about the prospect of a civil case, Mr Clifford said there were "options" which they would discuss on Friday.

A statement issued by lawyer Graham Shear, on behalf of the two footballers, said: "My clients have always categorically denied these allegations.

"This significant announcement marks the closure to an exhaustive four-month police investigation and demonstrates that my clients have not committed any crime whatsoever."

A file was sent to the CPS in November, following an investigation into the allegations.

The media were able to identify the two footballers after the Attorney General's office said the identification process in the police investigation was complete.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "The four men arrested during the course of this investigation will face no further action by police in connection with this matter."




RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific