Boycott fined pounds 5,000 for attack on lover

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The Independent Online
Geoffrey Boycott was given a three-month suspended sentence and fined 50,000 francs (pounds 5,100) by a French court yesterday for punching his former lover.

The former Yorkshire and England batsman launched an appeal against the ruling and threatened to take legal action again Margaret Moore if she continued to "make untrue and defamatory" allegations against him. Ms Moore told the court in Grasse, southern France, that Boycott pinned her down before punching her 20 times on the face and body in a violent rage. Boycott was not in court to hear her give evidence but sent faxes saying he was at a cricket tournament in South Africa and denying assault.

Judge Marc Juando said: "How can we interrupt such a noble activity as cricket?" Planes existed all over the world and Boycott, 57, should have made an effort to be in court, he added.

Ms Moore, 45, told the court they were staying at a hotel in Antibes when Boycott attacked her on 2 October, 1996. The judge was shown photographs of damage to her face which showed she suffered black eyes and bruising. The divorced mother of two said: "On that day he was in a very bad mood. There were a lot of reasons and he had told me off for not making enough money for him." She told the judge she had acted as an agent for him and arranged contracts with the BBC and newspapers.

Mrs Moore told the judge Boycott had beaten her three times before. "After this attack both my eyes were closed and I was blinded. I thought I had lost my retina." After the verdict she said: "I'm very pleased justice has been done and that the French court has listened to me and found him guilty, because he is guilty. He beat me up very badly ... his behaviour is appalling."

Boycott accused her of lying in court. Speaking through his solicitor, he said: "She ... is a bitter and vindictive woman who is clearly out to destroy me. All the allegations and statements made by Ms Moore are absolutely refuted." - Kate Watson-Smyth