Gang rape: Two players questioned as Dyer issues denial

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The Independent Online

Kieron Dyer, the England and Newcastle United footballer, denied speculation last night that he was involved in the alleged gang-rape of a 17-year-old girl by a group of Premiership players.

His intervention came as two Premiership footballers were arrested and questioned about claims that a teenager was sexually assaulted at a hotel in London. The Attorney General was seeking injunctions last night against newspapers planning to name them.

They were later released on bail. Two other men have already been questioned by police, including a party organiser who claims that he and others had consensual sex with the girl.

Mr Dyer, 24, said he wanted to, "set the record straight and put an end to the massive speculation". He said his name had become linked to the alleged attack because staff at the Grosvenor House hotel on Park Lane mistakenly booked the room - where the incident is alleged to have taken place on 27 September - in his name.

Mr Dyer said: "I had no involvement in this matter let alone being 'at the centre of it' as suggested in e-mails, websites and elsewhere." He said: "Until now, I have felt trapped and it has been very frustrating that I have been unable to clarify publicly the facts which clearly exonerate me, while the police conduct inquiries."

The footballer, who is with the England squad in Turkey for a qualifying game, said his family had been hounded and his "reputation has been damaged in the most public way possible". His statement was issued hours after two footballers were questioned about the alleged rape of a girl in room 316 of the hotel. The girl claims she consented to having sex with only one man but then up to seven other footballers came into the room and sexually assaulted her.

Since details of the alleged incident emerged, there has been frenzied speculation within the media, among football fans and on soccer websites about the identify of the players.

Mr Dyer said his name was one of those falsely linked to the alleged rape. He said: "Despite intense pressure, I have respectfully maintained a dignified silence. I now feel it's appropriate for me to set the record straight and put an end to the massive speculation."

He went on: "Contrary to much of what has been reported, the facts are as follows: After playing our match against Arsenal on the night of 26 September, I went to the Grosvenor House hotel.

"I checked in with several other people and, totally unbeknown to me, the hotel entered the other people's rooms under my name. I checked in to the hotel at approximately 11pm.

"One of my representatives and a friend met me at the hotel shortly after and we left together at approximately 11.30pm. We went to Sketch on Conduit Street in W1 and the three of us remained there until it closed, leaving at about 2.20am.

"A photograph of me leaving the club has already been published. My friend and I were dropped back at the hotel and went directly to our room, alone, where we stayed until late the next morning. The following day, we left the hotel for lunch completely unaware of anything having happened.

"Unfortunately, the fact that my name was mistakenly attached to someone else's room has provoked wild speculation."

He said he was, "appalled by a supposedly 'blurred' photograph of me that appeared during a storm of publicity which had suggested I was at the centre of the criminal investigation".

On Wednesday, Nicholas Meikle, 29, "a party organiser", was arrested and bailed over the accusations. Mr Meikle has said the girl agreed to have sex with him and three other men.

STATEMENT OF KIERON DYER

Recently, there has been much press coverage as to my supposed involvement in an alleged incident at the Grosvenor House Hotel on the weekend of 26/27 September.

I now feel it is appropriate for me to set the record straight and put an end to the massive speculation.

Contrary to much of what has been reported, the facts are as follows:

After playing our match against Arsenal on the night of 26 September, I went to the Grosvenor House Hotel. I checked in together with several other people and totally unbeknown to me, the hotel entered the other people's rooms under my name.

I checked into the hotel at approximately 11pm. One of my representatives and a friend met me at the hotel shortly thereafter and we left together at approximately 11.30pm. We went to Sketch on Conduit St in W1 and the three of us remained there until it closed, leaving at about 2.20am. A photograph of me leaving the club has already been published. My friend and I were dropped back at the hotel and went directly to our room alone, where we stayed until late the next morning. The following day we left the hotel for lunch completely unaware of anything having happened.

Unfortunately, the fact that my name was mistakenly attached to someone else's room has provoked wild speculation.

This whole matter has been very distressing for me. To make matters worse, my family and friends have been hounded, and my reputation has been damaged in the most public way possible.

I will now make clear a number of points:

1. I have not been fined by Newcastle United Football Club nor reprimanded by its management, directors or chairman.

2. My team-mates are fully aware that I had nothing to do with this and reports of them launching personal attacks on me are categorically untrue.

3. I had no involvement in this matter, let alone being 'at the centre of it'. I am aware that this has been clarified for the authorities by witnesses.

I recognise the claims being made by the woman are of the most serious nature, and warrant a thorough investigation, that is without doubt. I do not wish to trivialise these allegations. It is for this reason that I have not stated my position until now.