Stoke City footballer Saido Berahino 'had blood on his hands when he was pulled over for drink driving'
Footballer Saido Berahino had blood on his hands and his t-shirt was ripped when he was pulled over for drink driving shortly after falling victim to a knifepoint robbery, a court heard today.
The Stoke City striker, 25, was almost three times the drink drive limit and appeared “red-eyed and nervous” when he was arrested in Bedford Square, Bloomsbury at 3am on February 18.
But he is fighting a drink drive charge, claiming he had to get behind the wheel of his Range Rover because he had been beaten up and robbed by men armed with knives as he left a restaurant with friends.
Prosecutor Katie Weiss told Highbury Corner magistrates court Berahino replied “this is bulls***” when he was arrested, and initially refused to talk about the robbery.
The arresting PC, Stephen Luu, said he believed Berahino, his girlfriend, and friends in the car, may have been involved in a stabbing and were lying about their knowledge of the incident.
“I asked how he had got blood on his hands and he just appeared confused”, said the officer.
“As soon as he came out of the vehicle, I realised the back of his t-shirt was completely ripped.”
PC Luu said he questioned Berahino and his friends, telling the court: “I knew they were lying to me because I saw blood on his hands.
“They were refusing to tell me what had happened, and I believed they were involved.”
But the officer said Berahino’s girlfriend began to cooperate after the footballer’s arrest, saying: “There were males with knives who tried to rob them”.
He added: “Initially they didn’t want to speak to us, I think it was only when Mr Berahino was arrested and taken away that they feared for their own safety and opened up and told us.”
Ms Weiss said police officers had been called out that evening to a “possible stabbing involving seven people”.
They stopped Berahino’s Range Rover when he drove away from the scene of the incident at the VQ restaurant and bar in Great Russell Street. He drove around the corner before stopping in Bedford Square.
“He was questioned about the fight and said ‘no, we’ve just had a meal and are going back to the hotel, we haven’t seen anything’”, she said.
“As the PC approached the driver, he could smell alcohol coming from the vehicle and the driver.
“He asked if he had been drinking, and Mr Berahino replied ‘yes, just one’.”
Berahino was arrested after failing a breathalyser test, which confirmed he had 103 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 milligrammes of breath.
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The court heard he initially sucked on the breathalyser instead of blowing and had to be told how the machine worked.
“He then gave the allegation that he had been robbed by persons but didn’t give any names”, said Ms Weiss.
She added that Berahino’s girlfriend had also claimed her ex-boyfriend was involved in the robbery.
Berahino’s barrister Garry Green told the court the footballer argues he “had to drive his car as a necessity”.
“There is no dispute he was robbed, that robbery was caught on CCTV," he said.
“The officer in the case details exactly what occurred from three different cameras, and it shows the defendant being chased, falling to the ground, and being attacked while on the ground.”
He added that the police officer had also said he “could see knives on the CCTV when the robbery occurred”.
Berahino, who lives in Cannock in Staffordshire, denies drink driving.
The trial continues.