Roy Keane cleared of assault

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The Manchester United captain Roy Keane was today cleared of assaulting a teenager who taunted him in the street.

The Manchester United captain Roy Keane was today cleared of assaulting a teenager who taunted him in the street.

District Judge Paul Richardson delivered his verdicts at Trafford Magistrates Court, Greater Manchester, after Keane repeatedly denied manhandling the youth despite the abuse.

Keane, 33, had been accused of common assault, a public order offence and criminal damage.

Earlier, giving evidence under oath, Keane, who is known for his fiery temper on the football field, admitted he was angry with the teenager after he called him a "wanker".

But he denied grabbing the 16-year-old student by the neck and shouting in his face after clashing with him outside his his £1.4 million mansion in Hale, Cheshire, last September.

The footballer, who remained seated while the judge gave his ruling, gave no reaction as he was cleared of the three charges.

Mr Richardson said he had to remind himself of the high burden of proof needed to convict a suspect in court.

He said he was not satisfied the standard had been reached, adding: "Accordingly I dismiss these three charges."

Mr Richardson said he was not convinced by the evidence given by the 16-year-old.

He added: "It was clear to me this was a young man who enjoyed the attention that the incident had given him. Given his motive was at the best very questionable, I could not rely on his evidence."

The judge said the three charges of common assault, criminal damage and the public order offence arose out of the same incident and so all stood or fell together.

Mr Richardson said the student had been exposed as a liar during the two-day trial.

He added: "As a witness he was unsatisfactory, he was caught out as a liar, notably in relation to the chain but perhaps in several other perhaps less significant areas."

Mr Richardson said the teenager had been warned by police not to speak to the Press before the case went to court.

But he broke the promise by speaking to reporters and then denied he had done so to the police.

"Despite clear instruction in this case that he should not speak to the Press he chose to do so and he then lied to the sergeant about what had happened."

Keane first clashed with the teenager while walking his dogs outside his home.

The footballer told the court that as the teenager and a friend drove past on their mopeds, the teenager shouted: "Keano - you're a wanker," and made a hand gesture.

A few weeks later, on September 4 last year, Keane spotted the teenager outside his home a second time.

Keane went over to tell the "lippy" youngster to "watch your mouth".

He denied any physical assault but the teenager claimed the footballer grabbed him round the neck, swung a punch stopping just short of his face and snapped his neck chain.