Stuart Downing forced to reveal spending habits

A Premier League footballer was forced to reveal his spending habits to a jury today - including £45,000 spent on a home cinema.

Aston Villa's Stewart Downing, 26, was giving evidence on the second day of the trial of his former agent who is accused of fraud.

York Crown Court has heard how Ian Elliott allegedly siphoned off large amounts of money from one of Downing's bank accounts to prop up his failing business projects.

Today, Downing confirmed an account had in excess of £2million going through it.

He also confirmed £136,000 had left the account to pay for a variety of luxury items.

As well as the home cinema, he spent £30,000 on a home extension, £6,000 on a walk-in wardrobe and £45,000 on a conservatory.

Other expenditure included £6,000 on a bathroom. He also gave his family £180,000 over a number of years, the jury was told.

The former Middlesbrough midfielder told the jury the account should have had £600,000 to £700,000 in it from his earnings.

He said a firm of accountants discovered just £11,000 in the account.

Downing said there was a "massive amount" of money going into the account and he would have expected to see more than a few thousand pounds.

"If you look at the money that had gone out, there should have been more than £11,000," he told the jury during cross-examination.

Robin Patton, defending Elliott, responded by saying: "That's if you know what you are doing with your money."

Mr Patton put it to Downing that he had spoken to Tottenham Hotspur in January 2008 to discuss a possible move to the London club.

Mr Patton claimed he had spoken to the club on two occasions.

Downing denied the claim or that he was trying to increase his wages at Middlesbrough FC to £80,000 a week during contract negotiations in 2008.

He said the figure of £80,000 was "comical" and he would never try to get that much money from Middlesbrough.

"Even when I went to Aston Villa I never ever demanded £80,000 a week," he said.

He told the jury he thought he was one of the best players at the club and his new contract should reflect that.

Mr Patton said: "You expressed the view you were the best player at the club and thought you were entitled to parity with the highest-paid player, who was in fact paid £80,000 a week."

Downing said Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson would never pay that kind of money.

It is alleged that Elliott committed fraud by:

:: Falsely claiming Downing consented to him becoming a director of Stewart Downing Promotions Ltd;

:: Requiring Downing to sign a two-year contract without telling him that its terms were inconsistent with an earlier contract;

:: Creating a consultancy agreement that purported to entitle Elliott to £100,000 per year, backdated to 2004;

:: Creating false invoices for money supposedly owed by Stewart Downing Promotions Ltd to two companies, Elliott Sports Management Ltd and Waveclean Ltd, trading as ESM Interiors.

Elliott, 53, of Foxhills Covert, Newcastle, denies all the charges.

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