herald

Wednesday 23 January 2019

Chelsea star Cole faces police probe for shooting student

Ashley Cole has no plans to make a public apology after allegations that he shot a work placement student at Chelsea's training ground.

Police are investigating the shooting in which Tom Cowan (21) was hit in the side with a pellet from a .22 air rifle, said to have been fired by Cole.

Chelsea refused to say what disciplinary action they had taken against Cole or to reveal any details of the incident.

"We can confirm that while no direct allegation has been made, the matter has been brought to our attention and we will be contacting the club in due course to establish whether any criminal offence has been committed," a police spokesman said.

A statement from Chelsea Football Club said: "We have fully investigated the incident and we are taking appropriate action. We will not be commenting further, as it is an internal matter."

According to reports, Cole did not know that the gun was loaded when he fired it at Mr Cowan, a sports science student on a one-year placement at Chelsea.

Cole, who was divorced last year by his wife, Cheryl, was reported to have been "larking about" with the gun in the dressing room at the training ground when Mr Cowan was hit from a range of five feet.

Mr Cowan, who was bleeding from the side as a result of his injury, was treated by the club's medical staff and was given two days off to recover.

He was not said to have required hospital treatment and the police were not called.

The shooting was said to have been witnessed by a dozen members of the Chelsea staff and a number of the first team squad.

Conflicting reports have surrounded whether Cole brought the weapon to the ground, or it belongs to a member of the youth team.

"Ashley pulled the rifle from a box and started larking about with it, not realising it was loaded. It ended up pointed at Tom just five feet away," a source said.

"Then the gun went off with a loud pop and Tom screamed as this lead pellet hit him in the side. It went through his clothing and into his flesh.

"He was bleeding profusely and it soaked into his training top. He was in agony and seemed to go into shock as he steadied himself and sat down on one of the benches."

hnews@herald.ie

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