PREMIER League footballer Titus Bramble groped a woman in a nightclub before sexually assaulting a second victim in a taxi, a court was told.

A 26-year-old woman yesterday told Teesside Crown Court how the Sunderland FC defender grabbed her bottom as she stood by the bar in the Keys nightclub in Yarm, near Stockton.

When the woman turned around, she described seeing a man standing “with a stupid smile on his face”, the jury was told.

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The incident is alleged to have taken place at about 1am on September 28 last year.

The witness told the court: “I was just standing with my friends and I felt a hand grab the right-hand side of my bum – it was a full hand grab.

“I turned around immediately – there was only one person stood behind me.”

The woman said she told a friend what had happened and he replied that the man played football for Sunderland.

The woman told the court: “I said ‘I don’t care what he does, he’s not grabbing me like that.”

She said she approached the man and told him: “Don’t you touch me like that again.”

The witness said the man who grabbed her was then ushered away by friends.

She later told her father about the incident after hearing news reports that Mr Bramble had been arrested in connection with a sexual assault the same night.

The incident was reported to police and the woman picked Mr Bramble out of an identity parade.

She denied under cross-examination from Ronald Jaffa, for Mr Bramble, that someone else could have grabbed her bottom.

The prosecution claims that after groping a woman in the nightclub, Mr Bramble sexually assaulted a 20-year-old woman in the back of a taxi.

The footballer allegedly assaulted her three times, touching her leg and putting her hand on his jeans at the area of his groin.

The court was told that the woman told him stop and asked the driver to take her home.

Mr Dodds said that the taxi driver became concerned and drove all three to Stockton police station.

The driver later described the woman as looking very sad and scared, the court heard.

All three went into the police station and the woman went into the toilets, refusing to come out until the defendant was elsewhere, the barrister said.

Mr Bramble was arrested but gave no reply to questions put by police when he was interviewed.

The 30-year-old, who lives at Wynyard, between Billingham and Stockton, denies four counts of sexual assault.

The trial finished early yesterday when defence barrister Ronald Jaffa became ill after complaining he was suffering from flu.

The trial, which is expected to last five days, is due to continue today.