Footballers sent for trial over assault

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The Independent Online

Three Leeds United footballers were sent for trial yesterday over an assault on an Asian student.

Three Leeds United footballers were sent for trial yesterday over an assault on an Asian student.

Lee Bowyer, 23, who has played for England at Under-21 level, Jonathan Woodgate, 20, a full international, and Tony Hackworth, 20, a reserve player, pleaded not guilty at Leeds Crown Court to causing grievous bodily harm to Sarfraz Najeib, 19, in Leeds city centre in January. All three denied affray; Mr Woodgate also pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

A fourth player, Michael Duberry, 24, who is charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, was unable to attend the hearing as he is in hospital after being injured in Leeds' match on Saturday. He will appear in court at a later date.

Two other men, Neal Caveney, 21, and Paul Clifford, 21, both from Middlesbrough, denied causing grievous bodily harm, affray and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

All the defendants were given bail and trial was set for 6 June at Sheffield Crown Court. Nicholas Campbell, for the prosecution, said it was likely to last at least five weeks. He added that the alleged attack was not racially motivated.

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