Sunderland's Bramble On Trial

Sunderland footballer Titus Bramble groped one woman's bottom in a club before repeatedly sexually assaulting another in the back of a taxi, a court has heard.

The 30-year-old Premier League defender denies four counts of sexual assault alleged to have happened during a night out in Yarm, Teesside, on September 28th last year.

Shaun Dodds, prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, said: "It is significant that we have here key witnesses who don't know each other and are both making separate and independent allegations against this defendant's sexual conduct in the early hours of September 28th'' The taxi driver was so concerned about the activity in the back of his cab he drove straight to a police station, the court heard. 

The first complainant was in the Cross Keys bar in Yarm, which is a pub with a nightclub upstairs, the jury of seven women and five men heard. She was standing near the bar at about 1am when someone squeezed her right buttock, Mr Dodds said. The footballer denies he was the man who groped the woman. Around 30 minutes after, a woman Bramble knew was helping a friend who felt unwell. He asked her to go to a Middlesbrough nightclub but she declined, though she agreed to share a taxi with him so she could be dropped off at home, the jury heard. During the journey Bramble told the woman his relationship was over, the court heard, then he leaned across and put his hand on her leg and moved it up. 

The prosecution said that at this point she said no and then rejected his advances again when he tried to kiss her, the jury heard. He then took her hand and placed it on his crotch, over his jeans. Bramble was subsequently arrested and did not reply when the allegations were put to him, Mr Dodds said. The trial, which is scheduled to last five days, has been adjourned until Tuesday after defence barrister Ronnie Jaffa fell ill.