Football agent allegedly attacked man in pub after his friend ‘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 friend ‘joked about him using the toilet’, a lawsuit has heard. James Featherstone, 41, is charged with assaulting the man alongside his co-defendant, Benjamin Cowgill, 41, on March 8, 2019.

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

“Around 8.30pm he went to use the pub toilet. As he entered the washroom he noticed a man – who was later identified as Mr Cowgill – near the urinals, swaying a bit,” prosecutor Helena Williams told the court.

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“He noticed that there was no toilet paper so he went to get some from the owner. He went back to the toilet. He noticed that Mr. Cowgill was still leaning against the wall and talking on the phone.

While using the toilet, Mr Cowgill, of Bowdon, then allegedly began shouting ‘obscenities’ through the door. He reportedly said, “It’s f****** great that he has a**t, a big f*****s**t”.

Benjamin Cowgill leaving court during a previous hearing

The man went to leave but opened the door to find Mr Cowgill standing in the doorway with his phone switched off, appearing to be filming him, the court heard. The man said he felt ‘extremely uncomfortable’ and said he could hear him say, ‘Did you f****** enjoy this mate, did you have a big shit, did you enjoy it?”

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

He then said he pushed him ‘out of the way’, at which point Mr Cowgill fell backwards as he was ‘unsteady on his feet’. The man then left before he heard a ‘grunt’ and felt a punch to the back of the head, he told jurors.

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

“Mr. Cowgill held me by the throat with both hands. I couldn’t move, I was kind of stuck,” he said. hit.

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

The man told jurors he got up to leave and ‘raised his hands’ saying he ‘had had enough’ before Mr Featherstone called him ‘f****** w**ker” and leaves the restroom. Mr Cowgill is said to have approached him and said: ‘Why did you do that, it was just a f***** joke’.

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

Mr Featherstone and Mr Cowgill later admitted to being the two men wanted by police who released CCTV footage following the incident, the court heard. But in their interviews with police, they claimed the man attacked them and they 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 his website. He says he has been involved in “hundreds of negotiations and is a regular on television and radio networks around the world as an industry go-to in the role of an agent.”

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


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