Saturday 7 December 2019

Team-mate of Ireland youth international in sex case claims he was shown ‘graphic photo’

Shenai Raif

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

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 girl who had been with them at a club.

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

The defender said: "A team mate 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 he had seen, the player said he did not remember.

Asked what was said, he said he had no recollection, but he agreed he said to police: "Just like 'Look at this, we have got our d***s in her hand' and that was it really".

He had gone back to sleep but woke again to find the girl awake. "She seemed fine" he added.

Mr Sampayo said he and other players from Brighton and Hove Albion 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, Brighton, with the woman in the early hours.

At the Old Bailey, Brighton players Anton Rodgers, 19, Lewis Dunk, 21, and George Barker, 21, and former team-mate Steve Cook, 21, who now plays for Bournemouth, deny sexual assault and voyeurism.

Rodgers, a son of Liverpool manager Brendan, has played for Ireland at under 17 and under 19 level, although has not been picked for squads inn some time.

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

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

He had been interviewed by police after being arrested with the others in January, last year.

He had not been charged but five months later was summoned to the magistrates' court and been ordered to make a statement.

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

He used the statement to refer to in the witness box and his voice was barely audible.

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

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

The trial was adjourned to Monday.

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News