It was only boys' banter, court told in footballers sex assault trial
A FORMER Ireland underage international footballer charged with sexually assaulting a teenager in a hotel room claimed today it was nothing more than boys' banter.
Anton Rodgers, 20, who is the son of Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, denied there was a sexual element to what went on in the room where photographs were taken on mobile phones.
He said: "This was never the case. It was just a bit of boy banter. It was a laugh but it seems stupid now. She was just giggling. She was laughing. She was bubbly."
Rodgers denied the 19-year-old was asleep. He said team-mate Leon Redwood came into the room and sprayed the initials GB, representing fellow player George Barker, onto her thigh.
Rodgers said he took a photograph of Barker making a thumbs-up sign next to the girl.
"It was a funny picture at the time. That's all it meant," added Rodgers.
Rodgers' father, Liverpool football manager Brendan Rodgers, sat at the back of the court with relatives of the accused.
Brighton and Hove Albion players Rodgers, Barker, 21, Lewis Dunk, 21, and former team-mate Steve Cook, 21, who now plays for Bournemouth, deny sexual assault and voyeurism.
The prosecution says the players assaulted the drunken woman when she was asleep and took pictures as a "record of their conquest".
They were arrested six months after the incident in July 2011 following a night-out clubbing in Brighton to celebrate winning a local cup.
Dunk later told the court he had been on the phone to a girl for 35 minutes and saw nothing of what went on.
He denied joining in, taking photographs or exposing himself.
Dunk said he was sleeping on the floor but was woken by Mr Redwood, who said he could use his room.
Mr Redwood had then gone to the bathroom, got some shaving foam and sprayed the woman, he said.
The trial was adjourned to tomorrow.