Courts

Thursday 21 August 2014

Footballer shown lewd photo in hotel, sex trial told

Shenai Raif

Published 26/01/2013 | 05:00

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A TEAM-MATE of four footballers accused of assaulting a woman in a hotel room told a court he was shown a graphic photograph on a mobile phone.

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Ben Sampayo (20) said he woke up in the middle of the night and heard giggling. He had fallen asleep in the room where the footballers were with the 19-year-old woman who had been with them at a club.

Mr Sampayo was giving evidence at the trial of Brighton and former Irish youth international Anton Rodgers (19) – son of the Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers – Lewis Dunk (21), George Barker (21) and their former team-mate Steve Cook (21), who now plays for Bournemouth, who deny sexual assault and voyeurism.

Mr Sampayo said he had just opened his eyes when one of the players showed him the picture on a mobile phone.

Drunken

The Brighton and Hove Albion defender said: "A teammate came up to my bed. I don't remember who it was. He showed me a photo. I think it was on a mobile phone. I think I saw some d***s and a hand."

Asked how many penises he had seen, the player said he could not remember. Nor could he recall what had been said.

However, he agreed that he he said to police: "Just like, 'Look at this, we have got our d***s in her hand' – and that was it really."

Mr Sampayo told the court that afterwards he went back to sleep but woke again later and found the girl awake.

"She seemed fine," he said.

Mr Sampayo said that he and other players had gone out to celebrate after winning the Sussex Senior Cup in July 2011.

He remembered a group walking back to the Jury's Inn Hotel in Brighton with the woman in the early hours.

The prosecution alleges that the players assaulted the drunken woman when she was asleep and took pictures of her as a "record of their conquest".

Mr Sampayo said he had been drinking that night and had little or no recollection.

He was interviewed by police after being arrested with the others in January of last year. He was not charged, but five months later he was summoned to the magistrates' court and ordered to make a statement.

Asked by Richard Barton, prosecuting: "Do you want to be here today?", Mr Sampayo replied: "No."

Brian O'Neill, for Mr Dunk, asked him to raise his voice "as loud as if you were on the pitch".

Cross-examined by Peter Lodder, for Mr Rodgers, Mr Sampayo agreed that he may have been mistaken about what was said.

The trial was adjourned to Monday.

Irish Independent

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