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Former Hammer cleared of sword attack

Filed: Wednesday, 6th June 2018
By: Staff Writer

West Ham United's former goalkeeper Stephen Bywater has been cleared of confronting two workmen with a sword.

The 36-year-old, who currently represents recently-relegated Burton Albion insisted that he was "very relieved" to be cleared of all charges following the five day hearing at Chester Crown Court.

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Bywater, who has represented a string of clubs throughout his 20-year career was charged with confronting the two men after the two parties had a disagreement following the delivery of a new oven to his Cheshire home.

The goalkeeper, who represented West Ham between 1998 and 2006 is said to have challenged the bemused workmen with the 63cm sword. Bywater denied this in court, claiming instead that he produced the weapon in order to open the oven's outer packaging.

Delivery men Lee Horsfall, 43, and John Burgon, 35 told the court that they were concerned for their lives after Bywater accused them of scratching the appliance during the delivery. "I genuinely thought I was going to die", the former told

However the player's wife Zoe backed up here husband's version of events - a defence that was accepted by the jury.

"I'm very relieved for myself and my family that the case is finally over, and I'm very happy with the jury's verdict," a delighted Bywater said upon leaving court. "I could not have done this without my solicitor, Mark Haslam, and my barrister, Lisa Judge. They were outstanding."

Police armed with machine guns had cordoned off the street after being alerted to the disturbance, which took place back in June 2017. Bywater - who initially denied producing a weapon - was wearing pyjamas and slippers when arrested.

The sword was later found hidden in a spare bedroom at the Bywater house.

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Bywater joined West Ham in 1998 from Rochdale, with the fee eventually decided by tribunal. He made his first team debut in a memorable 5-4 Premiership win against Bradford City in February 2000 and, most notably replaced Jimmy Walker in goal for the 2003/04 play off final.

The Oldham-born stopper was eventually sold to Derby County in 2006 for a cut-price 225,000 deal.

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