Stevenage ex-footballer Bramble guilty of rape
A former Stevenage Borough player has been found guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel.
Tesfaye Bramble, brother of Premier League footballer Titus Bramble, was told by a judge on Friday that he faces an inevitable prison sentence after being found guilty of rape at the Vermont Hotel in Newcastle after a night out in September last year.
A jury at Leeds Crown Court took five hours to find the 30-year-old, of Ipswich, guilty by a majority of 10 to 2.
Bramble, who played for Southend United, Stockport County as well as Stevenage before a career-ending injury, shook his head and looked at the floor as the verdict was announced. His brother, a Sunderland defender, was in the public gallery.
The victim, who is now 20, gave evidence from a behind a screen in court.
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She told the trial she met the Bramble brothers and their entourage in the VIP section of Madame Koo’s bar, in Newcastle city centre, on September 22 following a Sunderland match.
The woman said one of the men in the group, Simon Pharoah, helped her take her drunken friend home. She then drove Mr Pharoah back to the Vermont Hotel where the group had booked three rooms. She accepted his invitation to go in.
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The victim told the jury that after chatting to the group in one of the rooms she went to sleep in a single bed with Mr Pharoah, who is white.
When she woke, she said: “A big black figure was on top of me.
“I was in shock. This isn’t right.”
She said she then put her knickers in her bag, grabbed her hair extensions and ran out of the hotel in panic.
“As I was driving, I was being sick,” she said. “I was retching. I was in shock. I cried like I’ve never cried in my life.”
Bramble told the jury he had got into the bed to “try my luck” and the sex had been consensual.
In a police interview, Bramble said: “They don’t just come back to the hotel to go to sleep, they come back for sex.”
Bramble said he was in a relationship which had been going on for about five or six years, off and on, and had a one-year-old daughter.
Titus Bramble who gave evidence in his brother’s defence said he had been going out in Newcastle for years and “nearly every time a girl came back to the hotel, it was for sex”.
He added: “I assume that when a girl’s coming back to a hotel after the club, it’s for sex.”
Judge Geoffrey Marson adjourned sentencing until August 5 to allow a pre-sentence report to be prepared. Bramble was granted conditional bail.