Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Vinnie Jones denies biting neighbour

THE WELSH international footballer Vinnie Jones bit, punched and kicked a neighbour in a late-night row over a stile, a court was told yesterday.

Timothy Gear, 27, a riding school owner from Redbourn, Hertfordshire, said that Mr Jones had punched him to the floor and stamped on his head.

Mr Jones, 33, also of Redbourn, agreed that an incident had occurred in the mobile home where Mr Gear lived last November. But he denied punching, kicking or biting and said he and Mr Gear had only "thrashed around".

In a hearing before magistrates in St Albans, Mr Jones pleaded not guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and causing criminal damage.

The court was told that Mr Jones had built a stile and gate on the edge of his land to keep out motorcyclists. But he heard that Mr Gear had taken the stile down so that he could get some horses through the fence.

Mr Gear told the court that he was asleep at home at about 11pm on 11 November when he was awoken by a banging at the door. He had got up when the window of the caravan was smashed in. "I opened the door. Vincent Jones grabbed me by the shoulders and put his teeth into the top of my scalp," he said.

Mr Gear said he managed to push himself away from Jones and was then attacked again. He said Mr Jones, who is assistant player-manager at Queen's Park Rangers, had accompanied his assault with volleys of abuse.

Mr Gear said the attack ended after a neighbour intervened. He said he had hospital treatment for a cut lip, cut nose and bruising and facial swelling.

Mr Jones said he had learnt that Mr Gear had taken down his stile after spending the day shooting. He had seen Mr Gear's light on as he drove home and decided to discuss the issue there and then. He said that day he had drunk only one glass of red wine and part of a half-pint of Guinnesss.

He insisted that he had not intended to cause trouble, saying: "It was not a fight. It was more like a trial of strength."

The hearing was adjourned until today.