The lead singer of rock band The Zutons broke a man’s nose after his girlfriend was insulted by a group of men, a court heard today.
Dave McCabe, 29, headbutted Peter Appleby during a booze-fuelled row outside a nightclub, Liverpool Crown Court was told.
McCabe, who wrote the worldwide hit Valerie which was covered by Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson, is accused of approaching the group in anger and headbutting Mr Appleby, 23.
The rock star admits headbutting Mr Appleby but says he acted in self-defence and denies assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Ben Morris, opening the case for the prosecution today, said the incident happened outside the city’s trendy Korova bar, in Hope Street, in the early hours of Sunday, February 21 this year.
He told the jury of six men and six women that Mr Appleby was leaving the club with five male friends when they saw McCabe’s girlfriend standing outside.
One of the men then mocked her fur-collared jacket – saying it appeared to him that she had a beard.
The remark was overheard by the woman, who was not named in court, and she reacted “angrily”, Mr Morris said.
He added: “Mr McCabe came over to the group and Mr Appleby was laughing.
“He never made the remark but he was laughing because he thought it was funny.
“McCabe came over and headbutted Mr Appleby, causing him a broken nose.”
McCabe, of Vale Road, Liverpool, will tell the jury that he only approached Mr Appleby to calm the situation but was told to “f*** off”.
The defence claim Mr Appleby, along with his friends, surrounded McCabe and he raised his arm to strike the star so he was headbutted in self-defence.
Giving evidence, Mr Appleby denied he behaved aggressively towards McCabe and his girlfriend.
He told the court the beard remark was a private comment between the friends and not intended to be overheard by the woman.
However, he said, when she did hear it she started abusing them.
He added: “I said to her that we really didn’t mean it as an offensive remark and I thought she was over-reacting.
“Then she moved away and the defendant came over.
“I really don’t know what he said, it was just very aggressive and he was shouting abuse.
“He seemed to be directing it at me and then he lunged towards me and headbutted me.”
Mr Appleby told the jury he had consumed six pints of Guinness that night and admitted he was drunk.
But he added: “I didn’t do anything to provoke him. I didn’t intend to fight him.
“I was stunned when he headbutted me. I looked down and all I could see was blood.”
Mr Appleby was taken by taxi to the Royal Liverpool Hospital where he was told he had suffered a broken nose.
McCabe was arrested over the incident in March.
During his interviews, he told police he had wanted to make peace with the group and denied he attacked Mr Appleby in anger.