Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
‘Footballers taunted me in the street’ Albion sex assault trial told
The woman who accused four Albion footballers of sexually assaulting her wept as she screamed that they had taunted her in the street.
The 21-year-old, who was 19 at the time of the incident, says she was abused by Brighton and Hove Albion players Anton Rodgers, Lewis Dunk, George Barker and former Seagull Steve Cook at the Jury’s Inn in Stroudley Road, Brighton, on July 16, 2011.
Broke down She broke down in the witness box at the Old Bailey under cross examination from Sonia Woodley QC, who was defending Steve Cook.
The woman cried: “You don’t understand how scared I was.
“They were taunting me.
“They were shouting my name in the street. And I had no idea what had happened. I was so scared.
“You can stand there and try protecting your client but he knows what he has done.
“I didn’t want to say who they were because I was so scared.”
The young woman has admitted she lied when she initially reported the crimes to the police in July 2011 – withholding from detectives the fact that the men she says were responsible were Brighton and Hove Albion players.
But she said she told the police the full truth the following January after another Albion player threatened to post pictures of her being sexually assaulted on the internet.
She added: “I was adamant I didn’t want to go to the police.
“I was terrified of what would happen.
“So I made up stupid lies and they spiralled out of control.”
Rodgers, Barker, Dunk and Cook all deny sexual assault and voyeurism.
The woman’s best friend yesterday (January 25) told the Old Bailey the 21-year-old had confided in her that she had been assaulted.
She said her friend told her what had happened a few weeks later.
Describing the moment her friend confided in her, she said: “I knew something was wrong. I could see tears in her eyes.
“She's the type of person who was constantly happy who always has a smile on her face. This time she didn't so I knew something was wrong.
“She said she went out with a friend and bumped into some footballers.
'Something wasn't right'
“She said she remembered footballers taking her to a hotel and waking up the next morning.
“She said she felt awful and that something wasn't right. She said they had their phones out taking pictures.
“She didn't give me their names, just said ‘those guys’. She said they were footballers.
“She was in bits.
“I didn't want to ask her any more because I didn't want to upset her.
“She said she didn't want to go to the police because of what everyone would think of her.”
The trial continues.
THE TRIAL SO FAR
Anton Rodgers, George Barker, Lewis Dunk and Steve Cook "deliberately humiliated” a 19-year-old woman for their own sexual gratification, the Old Bailey was told on Tuesday.
The footballers – drunk on a night out celebrating the opening of the new American Express Community Stadium in July 2011– performed degrading sex acts on the unconscious teenager at the Jury's Inn hotel in Brighton and took photographs as trophies of their actions, the court was told.
Richard Barton, prosecuting, said: “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, because even if she realised what they had done to her she would not dare report it.”
The woman said she felt ashamed and embarrassed after seeing images of herself on Anton Rodgers' phone that
were later passed around players and staff at the football club.
On Wednesday defence barrister Mark Cotter, representing Barker, accused the woman of having a history of telling lies.
He said: “You swept yourself up in a rollercoaster of lies.
“I suggest you are a prolific liar.”
See the latest news headlines from The Argus:
- Busy night for Sussex's animal rescue teams
- Morrisons wants to move on to controversial Brighton site
- Thieves target Brighton community centre three nights in a row
- Learn about Brighton's history in guided walking tour
- Nine days of fun planned for Burgess Hill in June