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I did not kiss and cuddle footballers, woman tells court

By Shenai Raif

A woman has denied getting into a hotel bed voluntarily with two footballers she has accused of sexual assault.

The 21-year-old also refuted a defence suggestion that she tried to kiss and cuddle Anton Rodgers — son of Liverpool FC’s Northern Ireland boss Brendan Rodgers — and George Barker, who were dressed in their boxer shorts.

The woman has accused four members of Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club of assaulting her while she was passed out in a hotel room in Brighton.

The prosecution at the Old Bailey alleges they took mobile phone photographs showing lewd scenes.

The woman has admitted telling lies to police and her employers but maintains she is telling the truth about having no recollection of what went on in the room.

Mark Cotter, defending Barker, said: “I suggest to you that Mr Rodgers and Mr Barker were in the double bed in their boxer shorts and you got into bed between them. I suggest you initiated an attempt to kiss and cuddle Mr Rodgers and then did the same with Mr Barker.”

She replied: “I definitely did not.” Mr Cotter suggested she was “a prolific liar” who had lied about photographs she had seen on a mobile phone.

Asked if she had “seriously exaggerated” the contents of pictures, she said: “It was humiliating and they should not have done it. They have to live with it.”

Anton Rodgers (19), Lewis Dunk (21) and George Barker (21), and former team-mate Steve Cook (21), deny sexual assault and voyeurism.

The offence is alleged to have taken place in July 2011 after the club's victory in a cup match.

The only picture found on the men's phones was of Barker posing by his initials in foam on the woman's thigh.

Shown the picture in court, the woman said it was not the picture she saw. That one had shown her underwear pulled up.

The woman, who was 19 at the time, said she had been drinking but denied she had 15 shots of alcohol before passing out.

After missing work the next day, she told her bosses she had been attacked in the street because she feared being sacked.

She said after they insisted on calling the police, she told more lies but dropped “hints” she picked up from watching CSI on TV.

She changed her story six months later after an “awful” row with another player at the club who she had been sleeping with.

She denied a suggestion on behalf of Rodgers that she had been awake at times and had joined in the “larking about”.

Brian O'Neill QC, for Dunk, suggested she had told 10 “significant lies” to police.

The woman said she had been involved with one player later in the year. She denied that she had “thrown herself” at the defendants after being snubbed by one of the players she was friendly with. The trial continues.

Background

Midfielder Anton Rodgers has represented the Republic of Ireland at under-15, under-16 and under-17 levels and previously played in the Reading and Chelsea academies. His father is Co Antrim man Brendan Rodgers, the manager of Liverpool FC, who has watched his son’s trial from the public gallery of the Old Bailey.

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