Footballers 'assaulted young woman'

Footballers 'assaulted young woman'

Steve Cook

Anton Rodgers

Lewis Dunk

George Barker

First published in News
Last updated

A woman told a court today she woke up half-naked in a hotel bed next to a footballer after a night out clubbing in Brighton.

She said she could not remember getting there and was horrified to find mobile phone pictures of four footballers assaulting her.

Anton Rodgers was asleep in the bed wearing only his boxers and when she woke him, he seemed unconcerned, she told the Old Bailey.

The woman, who was 19 during the alleged assault in July 2011, gave evidence against the four players from behind a curtain.

She said she discovered the pictures after asking to use Rodgers's phone.

Brighton and Hove Albion players Rodgers, 19, Lewis Dunk, 21, and George Barker, 21, and former team-mate Steve Cook, 21, who now plays for Bournemouth, deny sexual assault.

Rodgers and Barker, both of Highview Avenue North, Brighton; Dunk, of Woodbourne Avenue, Brighton; and Cook, of Perth Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, also deny voyeurism.

Members of their families, including Rodgers's father - Liverpool football club manager Brendan Rodgers, watched the trial from the public gallery.

The prosecution allege the players took advantage of the teenager's unconscious state to commit sex acts and take pictures of her.

The woman said she woke up next to Rodgers, adding: ''I felt ashamed, embarrassed. I couldn't believe it had happened.

''I started shaking Anton. I was saying 'Why did you do this? I thought you were a nice guy'.

''I was angry. I told him to delete them. He said he was not going to delete them. He was not at all concerned.''

She said another player, Ben Sampayo, who was also sleeping in the room at the Jury's Inn hotel, woke up as they were arguing.

She told jurors: ''I explained about the photographs. He said 'I am not going to lie. If I were awake, I would have joined in'.

''If he was in my place, he would upload it as a profile picture.''

The woman said she reported the incident to police naming the players six months later after another player at the club hinted at putting the images on YouTube.

She said she had visited four clubs that night but was not drunk despite drinking seven alcohol shots and sharing a bottle of beer.

In the final club where footballers were, she had a sip of a soft drink but could not remember anything else until she woke up the next day in the hotel room.

She told jurors she woke up at 11am the next morning and felt drowsy.

Her 4in red high-heel shoes were at the bottom of the bed. The top of her pink, strapless dress had been pulled down and her bra was on the bed, she said.

''I felt really drowsy, so I kept looking round the room. I could see tissues and shaving foam on the floor.

After asking to use Rodgers's phone, she started scrolling through its picture gallery because she suspected something had happened.

The woman said she called up around 10 pictures and could not believe what she was seeing.

She said: ''At first, I saw a girl with blonde hair and when I looked closer, I saw it was me.''

She said in one picture, Barker had written GB in shaving foam on her buttocks and was posing with his thumbs up and smiling.

Rodgers had locked himself in the bathroom with the phone and refused to give it to her before she left.

She said she missed work that day and her employers called police the next day when she said she had been attacked in the street by people she did not know.

She had not told the truth because she ''could not face it''.

The woman said she later became friends with another player at the club who told her he had seen the photographs and a video.

She added: ''He told me he knew about the photographs. He said everyone had seen them. He meant everyone at the football club.

''He did indicate he was going to upload them to YouTube. I felt angry, very annoyed and upset. I started crying.''

Richard Barton, prosecuting, said her reluctance to identify her attackers to police demonstrated she did not willingly take part to sell a ''kiss and tell'' story.

He said: ''She is not a young woman who is a wannabe 'wag', but rather she was clearly mortified by what she subsequently found out had happened to her.''

The players took her to the hotel and assaulted her after celebrating victory for their club in the Sussex Senior Cup, it was alleged.

They waited until she had fallen asleep and then sexually assaulted her in ''a deliberately humiliating way'', he said.

''They compounded the humiliation by taking photographs of themselves doing so in order to have a permanent record of their conquest,'' he added.

''These were the actions of a group of arrogant young men labouring under the misguided belief that by reason of their privileged position they could with impunity take advantage of a young woman in this way.''

The jury was shown a photograph recovered by police from Barker's mobile telephone, which featured the defendant standing next to her with the initials ''GB'' written in white foam on the top of her leg.

No other photographs of the alleged abuse were found by police, the court heard.

Mr Barton said: ''Some of these defendants accept that something inappropriate did happen, but point the finger at someone else, denying their own involvement.

''Sadly the truth is that they were in it together. They deliberately humiliated her and they did so for their own sexual gratification.''

The trial was adjourned to tomorrow.

Proceeding

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