A former Sheffield United footballer turned housing landlord grabbed a tenant by the throat and called him a ‘filthy pig’, a court heard.
Former Blades and Doncaster Rovers forward Paul Williams is alleged to have attacked student Robert Abbott in a row over cleaning.
As the student tried to film the attack on his mobile phone, Williams – whose mother was a Nobel Peace Prize winner – is said to have raged: “Don’t you ring the police on me – don’t you know who I am?”
The 50-year-old, who runs property firm Elmopark Ltd with wife Claire, is said to have become aggressive after finding the student accommodation a mess two days before the last of his tenants was due to move out of a nine-bedroom house in Wilkinson Street, Broomhall.
He moved into the property business after a professional football career which began at Leeds United when he was a schoolboy. He had a brief stint with the Blades after signing in 1988, before playing for West Brom and Rochdale in the 1990s and playing for Doncaster on loan.
Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard the 6ft 3ins one-time Northern Ireland international grabbed 23-year-old Mr Abbott by the neck and pushed him against the sink before making threats.
Zaban Alam, prosecuting, said: “Two days before tenancy was due to expire the defendant’s wife Claire visited the house and asked Mr Abbott to tidy up before he left.
“He said that would not be a problem.
“Later that same day the defendant came to the house saying his partner had been in tears over the state of the house. He was behaving in an aggressive manner, telling Mr Abbott to get out by 10am the next day.”
Mr Abbott and his housemate Luke Bamforth worked through the night to clean up the property, including bedrooms which had been left untidy by other tenants.
But they said when Williams arrived the next morning he was still not satisfied.
Ms Alam said: “He arrived at around 8.20am and walked straight in. Mr Abbott told him he would not be moving out until his tenancy was up the next day, at which point Mr Williams became angered, grabbed him by the throat, and pushed him against the sink with one hand, jabbing him in the face with the other.”
Mr Abbott, now 25, told the court: “Throughout the incident I feared for my life.”
Police were called and both parties signed a restorative justice agreement. Sheffield Council then launched an investigation.
Williams, of Whitham Road, Broomhill, denies harassing Mr Abbott and Mr Bamforth into giving up occupation of a premises, and denies assaulting Mr Abbott.
The trial continues.