Former boxing champion Glenn McCrory has been acquitted of sexual assault after he allegedly called a waitress “pet” and touched her elbow.
A jury at the Old Bailey found the star not guilty of three counts of sexual assault after deliberating for just 90 minutes.
McCrory, 59, was a guest speaker at the pre-fight dinner ahead of the heavyweight world title fight between Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Uysk on September 26, 2021 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
He said he merely touched the arms of three waitresses to get their attention.
Prosecutors claimed he deliberately used the term “pet” in an overly flirtatious manner – but the boxer told jurors the word was commonly used by Geordies.
The former world boxing champion said when he arrived at the venue the staff member who greeted him didn’t know who he was – he couldn’t find his name on the guest list.
McCrory said he had to lean down to talk to her because she was petite and loud, but he didn’t remember ever touching her.
He said: “I just bent down. I may have touched her elbow, but I’m a big guy so I would never be forceful.”
The court was shown CCTV footage of McCrory at the entrance to the dining room, showing him talking to one of the alleged victims.
It clearly shows him touching her elbow with his hand as he leans in to talk to her.
He told jurors that he asked her where his table was and that he touched her elbow because of their height difference.
Scott Brady, defending, asked: “Do you think you were trying to be flirtatious?”
The ex-fighter replied: “No.” He also denied winking at her.
After giving his speech, which lasted 20 to 30 minutes, McCrory returned to his table.
He said he didn’t get a starter after being told they would keep one for him.
McCrory said that when he tried to make this happen, one of the waiters had an “uneasy reaction” to the use of the word “pet” while speaking to her.
He said: “Everyone at the table noticed the reaction.”
I just wanted to get my dinner and watch the fight
McCrory added that in the north-east of England the word “pet” was a term of endearment and was often used to address young women in the same way one would address a man as “mate”.
When she returned to his table, he said, he tried to get her attention and ask her about his appetizer.
The boxing star said: “She turned her back to me when I tried to talk to her and was obviously ignoring me, so I touched her elbow.”
“I was trying to get her attention. She turned around and said it was in the trash can.”
“All I wanted to do was get my dinner and watch the fight.”
CCTV footage played in court showed McCrory interacting with other guests at the event.
Several people took selfies with the former champion as he hugged and hugged them.
“They are very tactful with these people,” Mr. Brady said.
McCrory agreed, adding, “If they’re friendly and I’m in the right environment.”
He added that this is the way he usually interacts with others at events like this.
Mr Brady asked him: “When you touched those waitresses…was there anything sexual about it?”
McCrory replied: “Absolutely not.” He also said he has poor vision and scar tissue in his eyes due to congenital problems and damage suffered during his boxing career.
This may cause him to rub his eyes and blink frequently.
The women had alleged that McCrory touched them in a sexual manner without their consent, repeatedly winked at them and slurred his words.
That’s how we talk. That’s part of the Geordie.
McCrory – a cruiserweight once known as the “Northern Warrior” – had insisted he was misunderstood and that people in the North East were friendlier than in London.
In his police interview he said he didn’t remember touching a waitress, but if he had just done it to get her attention he would have done so.
He described the service as “very poor” and said a waiter was “bothered” when he approached them and asked where the toilet was.
McCrory said the use of words such as “pet” was normal in the north-east of England and that he had not intended to cause offense.
He explained: “That’s how we talk. It’s part of being Geordie.”
“I could have definitely called her a sweetheart or a pet, but that’s 100 percent how we talk.”
He said he was unaware that anything unusual had happened that night and was “astonished” when he later received a letter from police informing him of the complaints.
When asked if he had intended to cause any of the waitresses any stress or distress, he replied: “Absolutely not.”
McCrory, of Burnopfield, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, refused and was cleared of three sexual assault charges.