Wright-Phillips cleared of nightclub theft

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The Independent Online

A footballer was cleared today of a charge of burglary relating to the theft of cash and mobile phones from a nightclub staffroom.

Southampton striker Bradley Wright-Phillips had the case against him discharged at Portsmouth Magistrates' Court after District Judge Anne Arnold ruled there was insufficient evidence against him.

The 23-year-old, who is the son of former England star Ian Wright and younger half-brother of Manchester City and England player Shaun Wright-Phillips, pleaded not guilty to the offence.

He was charged with the theft of cash totalling £85, three mobile phones, a driving licence, two bank cards and other personal effects from a staffroom at the Bar Bluu club on Southsea seafront, Hampshire, on 28 February.

The court was shown CCTV footage from the nightclub staff room, which clearly showed Mr Wright-Phillips, of High Street, Southampton, inside, but his solicitor, Rupert Bowers, successfully argued that it did not show him participating in a crime.

The footage also showed Mr Wright-Phillips' team-mate, Nathan Dyer, in the room. The 20-year-old, of High Street, Southampton, pleaded guilty in July to the same charge. He was sentenced to 60 hours community service and ordered to pay £392.50 in compensation and £65 costs.

Discharging Mr Wright-Phillips, Judge Arnold told him: "I am not satisfied there is sufficient evidence upon which a jury properly directed could convict you. I am going to discharge you in respect of that charge."

In a statement released outside of court, Mr Bowers said: "Mr Wright-Phillips always denied participating in this offence, and is thankful that this has now been established.

"He deeply regrets putting himself in a position whereby he came under suspicion.

"Mr Wright-Phillips now wishes to put the whole episode behind him and concentrate on playing football for Southampton."