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I saw girl lift her top and bare her breasts at darts champ Phil; ORGANISER TELLS OF FLASH.

Byline: FIONA CUMMINS, MAGGIE BARRY and FRANK CORLESS

ONE of the women that darts champ Phil Taylor was convicted of groping had earlier drunkenly flashed her breasts at him, it was claimed last night.

Chris Gray, who organised the hotel exhibition event where Taylor, 40, met the two 23-year-olds, said they egged him on.

He added: "I was there, I saw what went on. I don't think everyone knows the full picture.

"Phil was having a good time and he had a good drink in him, but the two young lassies were certainly not backwards in coming forwards - they were all over him.

"One of them lifted her top up and was standing with her breasts out and showed them to Phil.

"I came out into the corridor at that point and got an eyeful. I just walked away through to the bar.

"They latched on to him as soon as he finished his exhibition. They were playing pool and were up at the karaoke with him."

A woman at the event in Leslie, Fife, said of the two girls: "They were in a drunken stupor.

"I saw them going to his van too. All the guys were coming from the gents talking about it."

Nine-times world champion Taylor, a father-of-four, was found guilty on Monday of indecently assaulting the women, who both play in a female darts team.

He plied them with drink at the exhibition match, Dunfermline Sheriff Court heard, and offered them a lift home in his chauffeur-driven motorhome. Taylor will be sentenced later this month.

Yesterday Taylor hugged wife Yvonne on the doorstep of his home in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs, and vowed to fight his conviction.

He said: "I am innocent. The bottom has fallen out of my world."

Yvonne, 38, backed her husband: "I'm standing behind him 100 per cent. He's done nothing wrong."

She had learned of the case only when Taylor phoned her hours before appearing in court. She added: "I'm still a bit shell-shocked."

Taylor said: "It's been hell. It has been the worst time of my life.

"My marriage is fine. My wife is standing by me 100 per cent."

He claimed he had been "fitted up" and pledged to appeal. "I've not done anything and anybody who knows me will tell you I'm not that sort of person. I don't do things like that.

"It's just not true. I feel as if I've been stitched up."

A friend of the women said last night that Taylor was full of himself.

The friend, who would not be named, said: "Taylor's an a**e. He was strutting his stuff.

"The girls were mortified. They are nice girls, good girls. They wouldn't take that sort of behaviour from anyone."

The women were too upset to talk. One was at home with her parents in Rosyth.

Her father told The Mirror: "This has been extremely upsetting for us all.

"She doesn't want to talk about what happened. She is not used to all this attention and it is very distressing.

"I think she wants to put the whole business behind her."

The other returned briefly to her flat, her head bowed as she got out of a taxi with bags of shopping. Her boyfriend said: "She doesn't want to talk about it. Leave us alone." They left hand in hand without comment.

Chris Gray had booked Taylor for a Sunday afternoon exhibition match at the tiny Station Hotel in October 1999. His fee was pounds 580.

He had stayed at the Station the previous night as the guest of owner Tom Adamson, parking his motorhome in the hotel car park.

Up to 300 men, women and children turned up next day to see Taylor show off his skills and take on a host of players from local clubs.

The drink flowed all afternoon and some of the audience were a little the worse for wear.

Towards evening a few of the crowd remained and moved into the front bar for karaoke.

Among them were the two 23-year-olds.

Mr Adamson said: "Phil was up singing and everyone was having a good time. Then he left with his driver. Later the police came and started asking questions."

One of the women told the court that Taylor challenged her to drink vodka and Irn Bru faster than him. She won four times.

She got into the motorhome with her friend, but was sick in the sink. Taylor groped her as she lay down.

The other woman admitted they were under the influence of drink - and said Taylor put his hands inside her shirt and fondled her breasts under her bra.

Earlier yesterday, as he drove home from Scotland, Taylor said: "All this is a load of rubbish. I just can't believe I was found guilty."

He said the judge, Sheriff Isobella McColl, had believed evidence from two women who were "very drunk" against the word of his "stone-cold sober" chauffeur Mick Connor.

"This is one of the biggest miscarriages of justice ever. I am going to fight it all the way."

Taylor could suffer the rare fate of being stripped of his MBE, awarded in the New Year Honours.

The Queen would act on the advice of the Cabinet Office.

A Cabinet Office ceremonial branch spokeswoman said: "There would be an investigation if anything comes to light which would bring the award into disrepute."

CAPTION(S):

UNITED: Phil Taylor hugs wife Yvonne yesterday as she vows to save their marriage Picture: JEREMY WILLIAMS; ANGRY: Organiser Chris Gray
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 7, 2001
Words:919
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