Footballer cleared of head-butting sister

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The Independent Online

An ex-Premier League footballer wept today as he was cleared of drunkenly head-butting his sister during a row in which he allegedly called her a "form of cancer".

Calum Davenport, a former West Ham defender, was accused of launching the ferocious attack on his 28-year-old sister Cara after being told she was pregnant again.

During his trial at Luton Crown Court, it was claimed that on August 22 last year, a heated argument broke out between the pair about how she was financially going to support her second child.

The 27-year-old footballer was accused of calling his sister a "form of cancer" and a "whore" before allegedly grabbing her by the throat and bundling her to the ground.

Prosecutor Beverly Cripps claimed he then head-butted his seven-weeks pregnant sister and bit her cheek.

Today, the former England under-21 international wept and hugged his parents and wife as he was acquitted of one charge of actual bodily harm.

At first the former Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland player showed little emotion as the jury of six men and six women returned its not guilty verdict after nearly eight hours of deliberations.

As he walked from the dock to a waiting area outside the court, there were loud sighs from the public gallery where his family and friends sat.

He was then joined by his father Curtis Davenport, mother Kim Stupple and wife Zoey, the mother of his two children.

Davenport cried as he hugged and kissed the relatives before being joined by friends, who had supported him during the three-day trial from the public gallery.

Sources close to Davenport said the footballer was now training full-time and looking to join a new club in the summer transfer window.

Davenport left the court, flanked by family and friends, as well as his solicitor, Shamsun Nahar, who read a statement on his behalf.

In it, the footballer said: "I am pleased with today's outcome and the jury's decision.

"This has been a particularly distressing time for my family and I hope now that we can put this behind us and I can focus on my career.

"I have nothing further to add and I will not be making any further comments."

During the trial, the jury was told Davenport was playing golf with friends before enjoying a night out drinking in Bedford, where he met his father.

He said he drank about eight pints of lager before taking a taxi with his father to his sister's house in Collie Road.

During evidence, he said the lights were on at the house when they arrived and, after she told them she had no beer, they were offered a cup of tea.

The footballer said he asked his sister if she was all right after he heard she was bleeding as a result of the pregnancy but this caused her mood to "switch".

Miss Cripps alleged the conversation then spiralled into a heated row, with Curtis Davenport calling his daughter "nigger-meat" and a "nigger-whore".

As the footballer went to leave the house, Miss Cripps said, he grabbed his sister by the throat, bundling her to the ground and head-butting her five or six times.

The jury rejected this version of events, accepting the evidence of Davenport, who claimed he was defending his father when his sister lashed out and started punching him in the face.

As he gave evidence, the blond central defender, who stands at 6ft 5in, said he was sorry his sister suffered bruising to her face after they clashed heads in a fall.

But he insisted it was an accident and he was only trying to restrain his sibling by holding her wrists after she became "hysterical".

Following the incident, the police arrived and the footballer and his father left the house. Miss Davenport then called her boyfriend, Worrell Whitehurst, who was enjoying a night out in Bedford.

When he arrived he could be seen pacing up and down the lounge while eating a banana, saying in a calm voice: "He ain't never going to play football again."

A short time later, Whitehurst tracked Davenport down at the home of his 49-year-old mother in Springfield Avenue, Kempston.

There, he stabbed him repeatedly in both legs, nearly ending his career.

Davenport, of Greenfields, Bedford, always denied one count of occasioning actual bodily harm.

Whitehurst, of Finsley Walk, Derby, admitted grievous bodily harm and unlawful wounding at an earlier hearing. He will be sentenced at a later date.