Football agent allegedly attacked man in pub loos after pal ‘joked about him using the toilet’, court hears


A football agent repeatedly punched a man in a pub toilet leaving him ‘covered in blood’ after his pal ‘joked about him using the toilet’, a trial has heard. James Featherstone, 41, is accused of attacking the man alongside his co-defendant, Benjamin Cowgill, 41, on March 8, 2019.

Jurors at Manchester Crown Court heard that the man had gone to the Stamford Arms pub, in the leafy village of Bowdon, Altrincham, where he met friends for a drink.

“At around 8:30pm, he went to use the toilets in the pub. As he went into the toilet he noticed a male – who was later identified as Mr Cowgill – near the urinals, swaying a little,” Helena Williams, prosecuting, told the court.

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“I noticed that there wasn’t any toilet paper so went to retrieve some from the landlord. He returned to the toilet. I have noticed that Mr Cowgill was still leaning against the wall talking on his phone.”

As he was using the toilet, Mr Cowgill, of Bowdon, then allegedly started shouting ‘obscenities’ through the door. He allegedly said: “This is f****** great he is having as**t, a big f***** s**t”.



Benjamin Cowgill leaving court at a previous hearing

The man went to leave, but opened the door to find Mr Cowgill standing at the door with his phone out, appearing to be filming him, the court heard. The man said he felt ‘extremely uncomfortable’ and said he could hear him saying: “Did you f****** enjoy that mate, did you have a big s**t, did you enjoy it?”

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Giving evidence, the man said he reacted by trying to grab Mr Cowgill’s phone but he ‘turned his back’ and began filming him in the mirror, he alleged.

He then stated that he pushed him ‘out of the way’ at which point Mr Cowgill fell back as he was ‘unsteady on his feet’. The man then went to leave before hearing a ‘growl’ and felt a punch to the back of his head, he told jurors.

The man said he was unaware another person, Mr Featherstone, of Altrincham, was also in the toilet before he was ‘thrown forward’ by the punch and had to grab the sink to stop himself from falling over. Mr Featherstone continued to punch him, making contact with his left eye and head, the court heard.

“Mr Cowgill had me by the throat with both hands. I couldn’t move, I was sort of hemmed in,” he said. “Mr Featherstone was at his side of him and trying to hit me.

“I felt like I was in a washing machine, everything went black and then I was on the floor.”

The man told jurors that he got up to leave and ‘held his hands up’ saying he ‘had enough’ before Mr Featherstone called him a ‘f****** w**ker’ and left the toilets. Mr Cowgill allegedly walked up to him and said: “What did you do that for, it was only a f***** joke”.

The victim was left ‘covered in blood’ on the floor and the police were called, it was said. Ms Williams added that he was taken to hospital and treated for injuries including a bruise to the head, a one centimeter cut to his eyebrows and an eight centimeter cut to his forehead.

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Mr Featherstone and Mr Cowgill later admitted being the two men being sought by police who released CCTV images following the incident, the court heard. But during their police interviews they claimed the man had attacked them and they had acted in self defence, it was said.

Mr Featherstone, a former professional footballer who went into investment banking, is listed as the owner of Sports Agency Omni Sports on its website. It says he had been involved in ‘hundreds of negotiations, and is a regular on TV and radio networks globally as an industry benchmark in the role of an agent’.

Mr Cowgill, of Stanhope Road, and Mr Featherstone, of Oldfield Road, deny assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Proceeding

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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