Footballer denies sex attack charge

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A PROFESSIONAL footballer from St Leonards has gone on trial alongside three former Brighton team mates accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman as she slept in a hotel.

Steve Cook, 21, of Perth Road, St Leonards, who now plays for AFC Bournemouth, was playing for Brighton and Hove Albion when the attack is alleged to have taken place at the Jury’s Inn hotel in Brighton on July 17, 2011.

He appeared at the Old Bailey this week alongside former teammates Anton Rodgers, 19, Lewis Dunk, 21, and George Barker, 21.

The four are accused of taking mobile phone pictures as they carried out the assault.

The alleged victim discovered the pictures on Rodgers’ phone after waking up the next morning to find herself lying half naked on a hotel bed, the court was told.

But when she confronted Rodgers he laughed at her and another footballer told her that if it had happened to him he would put the photo on his Facebook page.

All four men deny sexual assault and voyeurism.

Mr Barton, prosecuting, said: “This is about a group of men taking advantage of a woman who through a combination of drink and tiredness ended up unconscious.”

The court heard how the woman at first told police she had been attacked by a group of men in the street and covered up the involvement of the Brighton and Hove Albion players.

But in court this week she admitted lying and that it took six months for her to reveal the full story.

Earlier, she claimed she had drunk just four shots and a few beers and had not been hungover but ‘dazed’ when she came around. Jurors were shown the strapless shocking pink dress worn by the complainant on the night as well as her pair of four-inch red patent leather heels.

The trial continues.