Footballer shows jury how he punched 'in self-defence'

A premiership footballer accused of hitting a bouncer with a bottle said yesterday that he had been trying to save a friend from being beaten up when he stepped into a brawl outside a nightclub.

John Terry, 21, wept as he told Middlesex Crown Court how he had thrown a punch at the doorman outside the private members club after a late-night drinking session.

The Chelsea player said he had struck out after three security staff from the Wellington Club in Knightsbridge, central London, had "ganged up" on him – but he denied doing so while holding a bottle.

Jurors were told that Mr Terry, who denies causing grievous bodily harm to Trevor Thirlwall, a doorman, had acted in self-defence as he tried to help a fellow footballer, Des Byrne, who plays for Wimbledon. Demonstrating the punch in open court, Mr Terry, a rising star who has captained the England Under-21 side, said: "It was fairly hard, As far as I remember, it hit him in his head, his face.

"The sole purpose was to get people off. I was being attacked by two if not three of them."

Both Mr Terry and Mr Byrne, 21, are accused of behaving "loutishly" in the club with another Chelsea player, Jody Morris, 23, during a visit in January this year. Closed- circuit television footage of the incident shows the men apparently pushing their way back into the club after being ejected and scuffling with Mr Thirlwall, his brother and another doorman before the fight moved outside.

The footballers deny a joint charge of affray. Mr Byrne and Mr Terry also deny charges of carrying a glass bottle as an offensive weapon.

Mr Terry, who was barely audible for much of his testimony, denied he was drunk, but admitted consuming up to two pints of lager, two vodka-based drinks and a "B52" cocktail of Cointreau, Baileys and Kahlua.

The footballer said matters had turned nasty when one of the doormen allegedly abused Mr Byrne for being Irish. When the fight burst on to the street, Mr Byrne was surrounded by Mr Thirlwall and his brother Matthew, a professional boxer, who seemed to be about to kick the player, the court was told. Terry said: "I thought it was two on one and that's unfair. I had seen the young reception guy [Matthew Thirlwall] kick Des and I thought he was going to hit him again so I ran over. That's when the three of them ganged up on me."

Under examination by his counsel, Desmond De Silva QC, Mr Terry said witnesses who had accused him of throwing the punch while holding a bottle were either mistaken or lying. When asked by Mr De Silva whether there was "anything about that night that turned you into some violent creature that wanted to harm people", Mr Terry replied: "No, not at all."

Mr Terry, originally from Barking, Essex, also denied that he had been abusive to a group of Japanese guests entering the club at the time he was being ejected, or that he had accused the doormen of letting in "foreigners".

The trial continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn