Former Crystal Palace striker Nathaniel Pinney punched woman after false accusation, court hears
A former Crystal Palace footballer who punched a woman in nightclub was angry about false accusations of sexual assault, a court heard.
Nathaniel Pinney, aged 22, told Croydon Crown Court yesterday that the 23-year-old woman "came at him", provoking the attack, and denied that he had earlier groped her breast.
The ex-Eagles striker, of South Norwood, also insisted he had not slapped the alleged victim's 21-year-old friend's bottom at the Wonderland club in Sutton in the early hours of August 7 last year.
Mr Pinney, who now plays for Carshalton Athletic, is accused of repeatedly pulling down the 23-year-old's top and exposing her breast and laughing when she objected.
He then touched her friend's bottom before punching and slapping the 23-year-old when she confronted him, it is claimed.
But the footballer, known by friends as 'Bowzie', said he had not even noticed the women in the club until the 23-year-old shouted at him and slapped him.
He admitted then punching the women, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
He said: "I was nowhere near them. She has got that wrong. I don't know them so I didn't speak to them.
"I didn't go near them at all. I didn't touch them in any way or any form."
He said he had initially lied to police about punching the woman because he was angry.
Gordan Ross, defending, said: "He accepts that he did hit the woman. He was so angry about the allegations. When she went for him then he punched her.
"But he did not have any contact with her until the end of the evening."
He added: "If these women were telling the truth you would have seen it on the CCTV. The police have pored over that CCTV and it is not there."
Mr Ross also called into question the reliability of witnesses, who he suggested had mistaken Mr Pinney for someone else.
Mr Pinney denies two counts of sexual assault but has pleaded guilty to one charge of assault by beating.
The jury will go out to consider its verdict on Friday morning.