Darius Henderson trial: 'I felt I was going to be attacked', footballer tells court (From Watford Observer)
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Darius Henderson trial: 'I felt I was going to be attacked', ex-Watford FC footballer tells court
The 31-year-old struck fellow New Year's Eve reveller John Bell in St Albans after he intervened in an argument provoked by another woman, claiming to have slept with the striker, in front of his girlfriend.
The Nottingham Forest player said that moments before the attack he had been threatened by Mr Bell to bottle him.
The footballer, who played for Millwall FC at the time, told the St Albans Crown Court: "I honestly felt I was going to be attacked."
Mr Bell, 41, was left with a depressed fracture of his cheek and a cut to his eye socket and later required surgery.
Mr Henderson, 31, from Markyate, is on trial after denying inflicting grievous bodily harm.
Earlier this week the jury heard on New Year's Eve 2011, the footballer and his then girlfriend Lucy Caplan went to Darcy's restaurant in Hatfield Road, St Albans for a celebratory dinner and party night.
At the end of the evening, they were in the bar when Hazel Kent, who was unknown to the pair of them, came up to claim Mr Henderson had recently had sex with her.
The claims provoked an argument when Miss Kent, 48, correctly named Henderson’s brand of underpants and Miss Caplan stormed out of the restaurant.
It's claimed that when Mr Bell, who was in the restaurant that night with a party of friends, tried to calm the situation down and speak to Mr Henderson, he was attacked by him.
In the witness box, the footballer was asked by his barrister, Mr Sean Minihan, if there was any truth in the allegations by the woman that they'd had sex.
He replied: "There was no truth in it at all. She had never been to my house."
Mr Henderson said his girlfriend had got upset because he wasn't really reacting to what was being said.
"What made Lucy more upset was the fact that I wasn't really reacting because I knew it was really rubbish."
He said his girlfriend and the other woman began arguing and he tried to calm Miss Caplan down and when he complained to bar staff about the other woman he was told to just ignore her.
Henderson said that when Mr Bell approached him at the bar, he told him he should watch the way he speaks to women.
Mr Henderson went on: "He was just telling me that if I didn't apologise he was going to bottle me."
The footballer said he tried to guide Mr Bell away from the bar where there were bottles and glasses, but the other man moved towards him again and he hit him.
Asked by Mr Minihan "Why did you strike Mr Bell?" he replied "Because I honestly felt I was going to be attacked."
The trial continues.