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Roy Keane ‘threw elbow’ at Arsenal fan and gestured to meet outside, court hears

Roy Keane 'threw elbow' at Arsenal fan and gestured to meet outside, court hears
CCTV footage shown in court captures the aftermath of the alleged headbutt by Scott Law - PA/Edward Fail Bradshaw & Waterson

Roy Keane told an Arsenal fan to “meet him outside” after “banter turned more aggressive” while on duty with Sky Sports, a court has heard.

Keane was allegedly headbutted while covering Manchester United’s fixture at the Emirates Stadium last September, with Scott Law pleading not guilty to a charge of common assault at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court.

Law, 43, gave a prepared statement to police the day after the incident and said: “Throughout the match there was what I would regard as banter between me and Mr Keane. The banter turned more aggressive with Mr Keane gesturing towards me to meet him outside.”

Law, of Waltham Abbey in Essex, added in the statement that he was an “avid football fan” and had seen Mr Keane act violently before on the football pitch, saying he was “scared” at the time of the incident. He said during a “natural break in the game” he went to use the toilet and was approached by Mr Keane in a “very aggressive manner”, adding: “His face looked angry.”

In his statement, Law stated that he moved his head forward in a “pre-emptive strike” to defend himself against the former Sunderland manager.

Law’s defence team claimed that CCTV footage from inside the stadium showed Keane elbowing the defendant in the face. The court was also shown a custody photo of Law from September 4 2023 in which he appeared to have an injury to his nose.

Under cross-examination, the police officer in charge of the case said there may have been contact from Mr Keane, but it “does not look like a deliberate elbow to the face”.

Defence barrister Charles Sherrard KC asked the officer: “What possible explanation can there be for raising your elbow at that speed to hold someone?”

But Detective Constable Phil Dickinson, from the Metropolitan Police’s sporting investigations unit, replied: “In my opinion, he’s gone to grab hold of him.”

He added: “There may have been contact, but it does not look like a deliberate elbow to the face in my opinion.”

Following the incident eight months ago, footage was widely shared on social media of ex-Manchester City footballer and Sky Sports pundit Micah Richards stepping in to calm an apparent confrontation. Dc Dickinson said police were unable to trace who filmed the footage, which was shown in court, adding: “It had been retweeted so much.”

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