Jury told of footballer's 'bottle job' on bouncer

A professional footballer tipped as a future England star hit a bouncer in the face with a glass bottle during a drunken brawl outside a nightclub, a court was told yesterday.

John Terry, 21, who plays for the Premiership side Chelsea, is alleged to have left a man temporarily blinded in one eye during a fight with door staff. The court was told the fight was joined by Mr Terry's team-mate Jody Morris, 23, and Des Byrne, 22, a defender with Wimbledon, after the trio were ejected from the members-only Wellington Club in Knightsbridge, central London.

Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court was told the three players refused to leave the venue in the early hours of January 4 this year, abusing staff in the basement bar before turning on door staff.

Security camera footage played to the jury appeared to show the players, led by Mr Morris, arguing with three doormen before Mr Terry allegedly shouted to one of the bouncers, Trevor Thirlwall: "He won't come outside. He's a bottle job; he knows what he's going to get."

As the argument spilt on to the pavement, Mr Terry, a defender in the England Under-21 side who had been tipped to join the World Cup squad, allegedly fell with Mr Thirlwall, 28, from Bermondsey, south-east London, into a pile of rubbish.

Jeremy Donne, for the prosecution, told the court the bouncer was then set upon by Mr Morris before Mr Terry allegedly swung a punch at him.

Mr Donne said: "Trevor Thirlwall immediately felt what he described as an explosion of pain in his eye followed by the loss of vision in it.

"What he had not seen, but others had, was that John Terry had a bottle in the hand with which he struck him.

"Miraculously, the bottle did not break on impact; it is terrifying to think what could have happened if it had."

The court was told the bouncer suffered deep cuts around his left eye, which required hospital treatment. A forensic pathologist concluded the injuries were caused by a bottle, Mr Donne said.

Mr Terry denies inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent on Mr Thirlwall, and charges of wounding the bouncer and carrying a bottle as an offensive weapon. The men deny a joint charge of affray. Mr Byrne, who was allegedly spotted carrying a bottle during the fight, denies carrying an offensive weapon.

The players had been drinking spirit-based drinks at the nightclub, which is popular with celebrities, for several hours before trouble broke out.

Sasha Keegan, the bar's manager, told the court that she had asked the men to moderate their behaviour. She claimed Mr Morris became confrontational, telling Ms Keegan to "f*** off".

Staff then asked the group to leave, and Mr Morris allegedly said to Mr Thirlwall: "Do you know how much I earn? I earn more in one day than you earn in a week. Do you know who we are? We could get you sacked."

Mr Donne told the court that the men had lied about the ensuing "disgraceful and unlawful" fight, even when presented with video evidence by the police.

The trial, which is expected to last two weeks, continues.

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