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Richards denies being Roy Keane's stooge or puppy

Micah Richards arriving at court on Friday
Micah Richards told a court he "grappled" with defendant Scott Law during the incident on 3 September [PA Media]

Former Manchester City defender Micah Richards said he "felt sorry" for Roy Keane but denied being his "stooge" or his "puppy", as he gave evidence in the trial of a man accused of headbutting the pundit.

Scott Law, 43, from Waltham Abbey in Essex, earlier denied a charge of common assault against Mr Keane over the incident following Arsenal's 3-1 victory over Manchester United.

Mr Richards told Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court on Friday he was in "disbelief" at what he witnessed, adding that he "felt sorry for Roy", who he described as a friend.

At the time footage was widely shared on social media of Mr Richards stepping in during the incident.

Mr Richards (bottom left) confronting Mr Law (bottom right)
Footage played to the court showed Mr Richards (bottom left) confronting Mr Law (bottom right) [PA Media]

He said: "I felt sorry for Roy. Just because of the fact you've come to work, to do your job and you've been assaulted.

"I could see he was physically shaken up.

"You do what any friend would do, or any colleague, step in and try to help the situation."

Mr Richards said he "saw a gentleman running towards Roy" before the alleged assault.

"I heard shouting and then as he came closer to Roy, I see him arch his head back and just try to headbutt him," he told the court.

Mr Richards demonstrated the action to jurors by moving his head back and forward and said Mr Keane was hit "more on his jaw" than his face, pointing to his lower jaw.

"I grappled with the gentleman for a while," he continued.

"I believe I was saying to him, 'What have you done that for?'

"I sort of grabbed him and pushed him towards further out of the corridor.

"I was basically trying to restrain him until security could deal with the matter."

Mr Keane (left) with his elbow out in front of Mr Law (right)
In the footage Mr Keane (left) can be seen with his elbow out in front of Mr Law (right) [PA Media]

However, defence barrister Charles Sherrard KC alleged Mr Richards had not seen any headbutt and had instead made the claim because he was "Roy's mate" and "puppy", adding: "You have become Roy Keane's stooge."

Mr Richards replied: "Strongly disagree.

"You tried to mix my words a lot today, but I know what I saw."

Mr Sherrard argued CCTV footage from inside the stadium on 3 September, shown in court, displayed Mr Keane elbowing the defendant in the face and delivering an "upper-cut elbow to the nose".

But Mr Richards denied this, telling jurors he was "trying to defend himself" and saying: "You wouldn't get sent off for that - standing your ground."

During his cross-examination of the footballer, Mr Sherrard described Mr Keane as having a "moody sombre appearance", and Mr Richards responded: "I know him a bit differently, but that's how he can be perceived."

Scott Law arriving at court on Friday
Mr Law told the court the incident was "the worst night of my life" [PA Media]

The court also heard from Mr Law, who was sat beneath the Sky Sports studio during the match and said Mr Keane was "very animated" and "angry" throughout the game.

"Mr Keane was puffing his cheeks out. He was right up against the glass. He was banging on the window," he told the court.

"Mr Keane picked me out and started telling me to see him outside. He was pointing to doors in the box."

Mr Law said he then went inside the stadium to go to the toilet and encountered Mr Keane who "collided into him".

Prosecutor Simon Jones KC asked Mr Law: "Are you seriously saying that Roy Keane ran into the top of your head?"

Civil engineer Mr Law, who cried while being questioned, said: "I put my head down in a defensive manner to protect my face."

He said he believed injuries to his face, seen in custody photos from the following day, were from "Mr Keane's elbow".

But Mr Jones said Law's "ridiculous" defence had "changed dramatically" from a prepared statement he gave to police the day after the incident, which said he moved his head forward "in a pre-emptive strike" to defend himself from a "violent approach" by Mr Keane.

Asked about the apparent differences between his statements, Mr Law replied: "I'd had no sleep - I was guilty by media.

"It was the worst night of my life."

The trial continues.

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