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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov, 28, 2006

Bellamy 'slapped by teenager at nightclub'

Liverpool striker Craig Bellamy told a court on Tuesday how he was slapped in the face following a nightclub spat with a teenager.

The Wales forward said he was struck following an exchange of words with the then 19-year-old Sophie Palmer while walking through a packed corridor at the No 10 nightclub in Cardiff city centre during the early hours of February 5 this year.

Miss Palmer claims she was the one assaulted by Bellamy and his friend, Franklin Lynch, following the exchange of words.

Miss Palmer's friend, Holly Smith, who was 20 at the time, also accuses Bellamy of assaulting her by grabbing her by the wrist.

Cardiff Magistrates' Court heard that 27-year-old Bellamy had started the night at the Soda Bar before entering the nightclub.

Bellamy, who was accompanied by his co-defendant at the Soda Bar, had also arranged to meet up with former Wales rugby union international Neil Jenkins, who was returning from Twickenham on the evening of Saturday, February 4 after having watched Wales play England in the Six Nations.

After drinking around four to five bottles of Budweiser, Bellamy said he moved on to the No 10 nightclub where he headed straight to the Champagne VIP bar.

The court heard that some time between 1am and 1.30am Bellamy caught the eye of Miss Palmer, who was walking in the opposite direction to him in the congested corridor which leads between the Champagne VIP bar and the Champagne VIP lounge.

Bellamy's barrister, John Charles Rees QC, asked his client whether anything was said, to which he replied: 'She just asked me what I was looking at.'

Mr Charles Rees said: 'In what sort of tone?'

Bellamy replied: 'I don't know if sarcastic is the right word but it was in that sort of voice.'

When asked what he said in reply to Miss Palmer, Bellamy said: 'Not you. If I was looking at anyone it would be those two girls over there. They're far prettier than you.'

Bellamy told the court there were not actually two girls behind Miss Palmer at the time.

Bellamy said there could have been bad language between the pair during their exchange.

When Mr Charles Rees asked Bellamy what exactly was said, he replied: 'There was a lot of swearing going on. It's a nightclub and it's just part and parcel of what is a conversation these days.'

Mr Charles Rees then asked: 'Did you refer to her as being fat?'

Bellamy emphatically replied: 'No.'

When asked whether he could see whether she was fat or not, Bellamy replied: 'No, I could only see her face.'

Mr Charles Rees said: 'What did she do?'

Bellamy replied: 'She slapped me in the face.'

When asked whether he was expecting that, Bellamy replied: 'No, not at all.'

Bellamy told the court that being a high-profile footballer meant he was used to getting taunted while on a night out.

'Some of it can be a little personal,' said Bellamy.

'Some people are really nice and want to speak to you about football and other people are really rude and see you as a person they can look at.

'It's been both men and women but more men if I'm being completely honest.'

Bellamy also denied ever paying Lynch to act as a minder while they were out together.

He said he met him several years ago following an international between Wales and Hungary and they had been firm friends ever since.

He added: 'The advantage of Frank is that he is not a drinker and that he is aware of what goes on and if anything happens he is there or thereabouts.

'I've never paid Frank but I make sure he never buys a drink.'

Bellamy, of Menai Way, Rumney, Cardiff, denies both counts of common assault. Lynch, 52, of Glan-Y-Mor, Barry, South Wales, also denies one count of assault.

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