The England under-21 footballer Danny Cadamarteri was convicted yesterday of assaulting a young woman by punching her to the ground and fracturing her cheekbone.
Cadamarteri, who plays for Everton, escaped a prison sentence because the judge hearing the case at Liverpool Crown Court accepted that the attack, on Joeline Joel, aged 25, was not unprovoked. But he could now face fresh charges relating to a false alibi he was "panicked" into giving to police.
Judge Lynch said he had "no doubt" that Cadamarteri, who denied the charge, punched Ms Joel during a late-night fracas in Liverpool last October. Adjourning sentence for a week, the judge said: "Had this been an unprovoked punch on a woman a custodial sentence would have been very much at the forefront of my mind." Instead, he accepted the evidence of an independent witness, Paul Bell, that Ms Joel had twice punched one of Cadamarteri's friends in the face and had turned her attention to the footballer when she was struck.
The judge ordered that defence documents relating to Cadamarteri's initial statements be passed to the Crown Prosecution Service "because of the false alibi that was raised".
Cadamarteri, of Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, persuaded the two friends who were with him on the night to back his assertion that he was not at the scene. He said he finally told the truth because the deceit was affecting his football training and home life.
Cadamarteri was remanded on bail pending sentence.
Everton Football Club said the matter would be discussed by the club manager, Walter Smith, and the board of directors "in the very near future".
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