Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Footballers 'assaulted woman, 19'

Anton Rodgers , left, with his father Brendan Rodgers, arriving at the Old Bailey

A group of footballers took pictures of themselves sexually assaulting a drunken 19-year-old woman, the Old Bailey heard.

The Brighton and Hove Albion players wanted to have "a permanent record of their conquest", jurors were told.

The four sportsmen took the young woman back to their hotel room and assaulted her after celebrating victory for their club in the Sussex Senior Cup, it was alleged.

Brighton and Hove Albion 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.

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.

The offences were said to have happened at the Jury's Inn Hotel in Brighton in July 2011.

Richard Barton, prosecuting, said: "This case concerns how a group of young professional footballers, intoxicated after a night out together celebrating a cup final victory, took advantage of a young woman, who herself was intoxicated and who was obviously in a vulnerable condition.

"After taking her back to a hotel room, they waited until she had fallen asleep, and so was unable to resist, and then sexually assaulted her in a deliberately humiliating way. They compounded the humiliation by taking photographs of themselves doing so in order to have a permanent record of their conquest."

He said the teenager - described as chatty and bubbly - did not tell police for six months "through fear of repercussions". She finally made a complaint about being "repeatedly taunted" about the incident by another footballer at the club.

The families of the accused, including Rodgers' father Brendan Rodgers, manager of Liverpool FC, were in the public gallery as the case was opened.

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