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Soccer: Footballers 'in trouble throughout night' court hears

The prosecuting solicitor in the trial of three Leeds United footballers accused of assault has told a court they were involved in trouble throughout their night out.

Lee Bowyer, Jonathan Woodgate and Tony Hackworth were among a group of footballers and friends, most of whom had been drinking heavily before trouble erupted outside a nightclub in Leeds city centre, Hull Crown Court was told.

Bowyer, 24, Woodgate, 21, and Hackworth, 20, deny causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Mr Najeib and affray.

England defender Woodgate and his Leeds United teammate Michael Duberry, 24, also deny conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Two other men, Neal Caveney and Paul Clifford, both 21 and from Middlesbrough, deny causing grievous bodily harm, affray and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The court heard that Bowyer, Woodgate, and Hackworth chased a group of Asian students after a drink-fuelled night out, leaving two of them injured. Prosecutor Nicholas Campbell QC, said one of the students, Sarfraz Najeib, 20, was left with serious injuries after the alleged attack in January last year.

Mr Campbell told the jury that while the three groups of friends were drinking in the city centre they were involved in "trouble" in the various pubs they visited.

"A considerable amount of alcohol had been drunk," he said. " The men were spoken to by door staff at some of the pubs for their extremely boisterous manner."

The jury was told that after making their way to Majestyk, the men were joined by Michael Duberry, who had been playing in a reserve match at Liverpool.

"He had had nothing to drink and clearly was not involved in the earlier activities," Mr Campbell said. Also in the nightclub were a group of five Asian students, including Mr Najeib and his brother Shahzad. They had parked their car near to the railway station at Mill Hill and walked the short distance to the club, which was holding a student night.

"None of this group was drinking alcohol," said Mr Campbell. "It was this group of five that was chased and in Mill Hill, no-one disputes, that the Najeib brothers were assaulted."