Brighton footballers 'took photos during sexual assault'

Anton Rodgers, Lewis Dunk, George Barker and Steve Cook Anton Rodgers, Lewis Dunk, George Barker and Steve Cook are accused of sexual assault and voyeurism

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Three Brighton and Hove Albion players and a Bournemouth footballer took photos while sexually assaulting a drunk teenager, a court has heard.

The four players wanted to have "a permanent record of their conquest" after taking the woman back to their hotel room, the Old Bailey was told.

It allegedly happened at the Jury's Inn Hotel, in Brighton, in July 2011.

Anton Rodgers, 19, Lewis Dunk, 21, George Barker, 21, and Steve Cook, 21, deny sexual assault and voyeurism.

Mr Rodgers and Mr Barker, both of Highview Avenue North, Brighton; Mr Dunk, of Woodbourne Avenue, Brighton; and Mr Cook, of Perth Road, St Leonards-on-Sea - who now plays for Bournemouth - were arrested by Sussex Police in January 2012.

'Repeatedly taunted'

On the opening day of their trial, 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.

Start Quote

She was not in a condition to resist, give consent or prevent things happening”

End Quote Richard Barton Prosecutor

"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."

The jury was told that the teenager, described as chatty and bubbly, did not tell police for six months "through fear of repercussions", and only did so after being "repeatedly taunted" about the incident by another footballer at the club.

Mr Barton said although it had seemed alcohol had played a part in the events of that night, it was not a case of a drunken young woman who did things when drunk that she later regretted.

"This is a case of a group of men taking advantage of a woman who through a combination of drink and tiredness, ended up unconscious.

"She was not in a condition to resist, give consent or prevent things happening," he told the court.

'No wannabe wag'

He said the woman, who was 19 at the time of the alleged incident, now suffered from flashbacks which included waking up in a hotel room in a double bed with Mr Rodgers next to her, wearing only his underwear.

Start Quote

She was clearly mortified by what she subsequently found out had happened to her as she lay unconscious on that bed”

End Quote Richard Barton Prosecutor

Mr Barton said she asked Mr Rodgers if she could use his mobile phone to call her sister, and as she did she discovered "a whole series of photographs of a young woman wearing a pink dress... lying on a bed, clearly not awake and, in some of them, semi-naked men around her".

It was then that she realised that the woman was in fact herself, the jury was told.

"She has no recollection of these photographs being taken," he said.

"She wanted him [Mr Rodgers] to get rid of the photographs but he simply laughed at her. He told her that these were nothing to do with her."

"She is not a young woman who is a wannabe 'wag' but rather she was clearly mortified by what she subsequently found out had happened to her as she lay unconscious on that bed," he added.

Mr Barker told the jury some of the defendants had accepted "something inappropriate did happen, but point the finger at someone else, denying their own involvement".

"Sadly the truth is that they were in it together. They deliberately humiliated her and they did so for their own sexual gratification."

The trial continues.

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