Footballer 'punched Good Samaritan' after 'sex claims'

Darius Henderson
Image caption Darius Henderson was angry after the woman's approach, the court heard

A Championship footballer "upset" over claims he had sex with a woman punched a Good Samaritan who tried to intervene, a court has heard.

Nottingham Forest striker Darius Henderson was out with his girlfriend when a woman claimed she had had sex with him, St Albans Crown Court heard.

John Bell, 40, who was in the same restaurant in St Albans, was allegedly hit when he tried to calm Mr Henderson.

Mr Henderson, 31, of Markyate, Herts, denies causing grievous bodily harm.

The court heard Mr Bell suffered a cut to his left eye and a fractured cheek bone, which required surgery.

Mr Henderson, of Green Lane, and Lucy Caplan were at Darcy's in St Albans on New Year's Eve 2011 when Hazel Kent confronted them.

Prosecutor Alan Richards said she behaved "somewhat unpleasantly" and said had recently had sex with Mr Henderson.

'Posed no threat'

She claimed she could describe his home and correctly identified the brand of his boxer shorts.

"There is no reason to believe that this was anything other than pure fiction, but Ms Kent persisted," said Mr Richards.

Image caption The alleged offence happened inside Darcy's restaurant in St Albans, the court was told

The court heard Miss Caplan was understandably upset and Mr Henderson was keen for them to be left alone.

Mr Bell, who was in the restaurant with his partner and friends, spoke to Mr Henderson at the bar in the early hours of 1 January, 2012.

A member of staff believed he was acting as a "Good Samaritan" and trying to calm things down, the court heard.

Mr Richards said it was possible the "angered and upset" Mr Henderson believed Mr Bell was somehow connected to Ms Kent, but Mr Bell had posed "no threat whatsoever".

"Even if his intervention was unwelcome it could not even begin to justify what Mr Henderson then did," he said.

"He punched Mr Bell in the head twice.

"It is unclear whether the first blow actually connected with Mr Bell, but the second certainly did.

"Mr Bell was knocked to the floor."

Mr Henderson, who was playing for Championship-side Millwall at the time, signed for Nottingham Forest on a free transfer in January this year.

He began his senior playing career as an 18-year-old at Reading in 1999 and has also played for Gillingham, Sheffield United and Watford.

The trial continues.

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