Page last updated at 21:46 GMT, Friday, 11 December 2009

Six accused of revenge attack on footballer in Crete

Robert Hughes before and after
Robert Hughes before the incident - and after

A group of men accused of attacking a British man in Crete may have been taking revenge for a football incident, an extradition hearing was told.

The six men are accused of beating former Oxford United player Robert Hughes, of south London, so badly he was left with brain damage.

They could face 10 years in jail if convicted of serious assault.

One of the accused had clashed with Mr Hughes in a football match, City of Westminster Magistrates' Court heard.

Mr Hughes, then 27, from Croydon, was on holiday in Malia in June 2008 when he was attacked.

He was so badly hurt that he had to undergo four brain operations and could not return to the UK for more than two months, the court heard.

He recognised one as the footballer Sean Branton, who had been sent off for a foul against the victim two years earlier
John Jones

District judge Howard Riddle granted bail to four of the men: Daniel Bell, 21, and Sean Branton, from Horley, Surrey; George Hollands, 22, from Reigate, Surrey; and Benjamin Herdman, 20, from Worth, Sussex.

Joseph Bruckland, 20, from Hookwood, Surrey, and Curtis Taylor, 20, from Horley, were refused bail and remain in custody.

An eyewitness alleged he saw one of the men stab Mr Hughes with a broken bottle and others kick him and stamp on his head, said John Jones, prosecuting.

Another man who knew the victim had come forward to provide a possible motive for the attack, according to the prosecutor.

"When told the names of the six men arrested he recognised one of these as the footballer Sean Branton, who had been sent off for a foul against the victim two years earlier," he said.

Alun Jones, defending, said all six of the men agreed that two of them were near to the scene of the incident at the time and one was in his hotel bedroom.

He said they say they "were threatened and intimidated" when they were questioned by police after the incident.

The case was adjourned to 30 December.

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