A female Welsh rugby star allegedly punched her friend and teammate eight times in the face before calling her the N-word after she was confronted for not ‘taking the knee’ before a match.
Bryonie King is accused of attacking Jasmine Rampton while they were students at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire in March, last year.
Prosecutors at Gloucester Crown Court allege Ms King left her friend in a ‘crumpled heap’ on the floor after hitting her multiple times, before making a racial comment towards her.
It is claimed it came after Ms Rampton confronted her teammate over her refusal to ‘take the knee’ before a match in support of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.
The 18-year-old denies a charge of racially aggravated assault, claiming she was acting in self-defence and denies she made any racial comments towards Ms Rampton.
The row is alleged to have started when Bryonie King (pictured) refused to kneel at the start of a rugby match
Mandla Ndlovu, prosecuting, told a jury of ten men and two women yesterday that whatever their views about the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, they should put them aside and reach a verdict based on the evidence in front of them.
The incident allegedly came after a row between Ms King and Ms Rampton over ‘taking the knee’, a symbolic gesture done before sporting events to express solidarity with the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.
Mr Ndlovu said the pair had known each other for two years and lived in the same block of student accommodation at the time.
‘The sequence of events begins following a rugby match on March 13, 2021, when there was a game in which Ms Rampton did not figure,’ he said.
‘However, Ms King did play and at the start of the game, as with many sports, players took the knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
‘This match was no different and the players took the knee. However, Ms King chose not to follow suit.
Ms King (pictured) is alleged to have punched Jasmine Rampton several times after the row escalated
‘When Ms Rampton, a firm believer in the movement, heard about this she became quite upset.
‘Ms Rampton contacted Ms King and the pair debated the situation over the coming hours. Ms King claimed she had done nothing wrong.’
He added that two days later the pair met up face to face to ‘iron everything out’, with Ms King, who hails from Mountain Ash, south Wales, going to Ms Rampton’s room, where the alleged victim was waiting with two friends.
‘The conversation was civil at first with Ms King explaining that she felt the gesture of taking the knee had gone on for too long and it was now misguided,’ Mr Ndlovu said.
‘The pair remained deadlocked in this position.
‘Ms Rampton then asked Ms King to leave her room, and she duly complied with the request.
‘Ms King was in the process of returning to her own room within the building when Ms Rampton caught up with her in the communal hallway.
‘Ms King then mocked the tears coming from Ms Rampton, who tried to move out of the way.
‘Then without warning, Ms King is alleged to have punched Ms Rampton in the face. She tried to protect herself.
‘Ms King is then alleged to have landed two or three more punches, leaving Ms Rampton in a crumpled heap on the floor, covering her face, while Ms King stood over her, looking aggressive.’
The prosecutor said the shouting between the pair attracted the attention of passersby who came to see what was happening.
‘One of these witnesses allegedly heard Ms King say, ‘Touch me again, I will do something much worse,’ and this was followed up by racial swearing at the victim,’ he said.
The jury was told that Ms Rampton was taken to hospital for treatment for swelling and a cut to her right eye.
Ed Mitchard, defending, told the jury that Ms King completely denied the assault and claimed that Ms Rampton came for her from behind and that she was only acting in lawful self-defence.
He added she denies ever making any racial comments towards Ms Rampton.
Giving evidence in court today, Ms Rampton said when she became aware of Ms King’s decision not to take the knee at the beginning of the match, it made her confused as she had taken the knee before.
Ms King is on trial at Gloucester Crown Court (pictured), accused of racially aggravated assault, a charge she denies
‘I messaged her on social media after the game and asked her why? I tried to have a discussion with her but it didn’t get anywhere,’ she said. ‘It was a pointless exercise.
‘Two days later on the Monday I went to Ms King’s room and said I wanted to talk to her face to face about it. Ms King was on the phone at the time and said she would see me shortly.
‘When she arrived, I asked her directly if there was a reason why she didn’t take the knee. Ms King stated that the Black Lives Matter movement was a thing of the past. The conversation was awkward and hostile.
‘I was trying to make her understand my point of view, but this was not going anywhere. As the conversation continued it became more and more heated and Ms King left my room.
‘It made me feel very emotional. I decided I wanted to get some fresh air and was on my way out through the communal hall when Ms King stood in the door way, preventing me from exiting.
‘She told me to go and cry a river. I went to move her arm so I could grab the door handle. I used just enough force to move her wrist. She then punched me in the face and she told me that if I touched her again she would do more than hit me.
‘I fell to the floor and she continued punching me in the face, I believe seven or eight times. I pulled my arms into my face to protect myself. She called me all sorts of racial names including the N-word.’
The jury was told that Ms King stopped the assault when another rugby-playing student, Abileigh Priestnall, intervened.
Ms King has pleaded not guilty to racially aggravated assault by beating of Ms Rampton on March 15, 2021, by demonstrating hostility towards her because she is part of the black community.
The trial continues.