Thursday 18 October 2018

GAA player who was once locked up in US prison pleads guilty to attacking elderly man

Dean McNally
Dean McNally

Stephen Maguire

A GAA player - who was once imprisoned in the US after being accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl - yesterday pleaded guilty to attacking an elderly man with his walking stick.

Dean McNally appeared at Letterkenny District Court in Co Donegal on Monday charged with a range of offences.

The court heard how there had been a verbal row at a chip shop involving McNally, two of his friends and an elderly gentleman using a walking stick.

The row spilt out onto the street outside the Downings Bay Hotel on the night of March 4 2017.

Outside McNally, who plays for both Tyrone and Kildress, broke Mr Euegene Ferry's walking stick on the ground.

Mr Ferry was then pushed to the ground during the incident and hurt his hand.

He then threw the other part of the walking stick at the elderly man hitting him in the back.

The court was also told that both McNally and his two friends then began to verbally abuse Mr Ferry.

The victim made a complaint to bouncers who contacted Gardai about the matter.

Garda Colm McConigley viewed CCTV footage of the attack and was able to identify McNally as the culprit.

Solicitor for the accused, of 23 Cabhan Alvinn, Pomeroy, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Mr Kieran O'Gorman, said his client had no previous convictions.

He said his client was of good character and never meant to get involved in any row.

He is charged with being intoxicated, using threatening and abusive language and also assault.

McNally, aged 27, told the court "I apologise for what happened and I should not have been involved."

Judge Kelly adjourned the case until April 19th and ordered McNally to pay €2,000 to the victim.

"I accept that he is of good character. If he pays that money on that date I will consider not jeopardising his career," said Judge Kelly.

Meanwhile, it emerged that McNally spent three weeks in a Las Vegas prison in November 2017 after being accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl, charges that he denies.

He was initially told that he could expect a 10-year sentence and a possible life sentence.

McNally said he was forced into accepting a lesser charge of `simple battery' rather than spend two years in jail awaiting trial.

Speaking to the Sunday World at the time, McNally said the charges were "completely untrue".

"I was never formally interviewed by police yet there I was in court being told the best I could expect was a 10-year prison sentence," he said.

McNally had been in Las Vegas on a stag holiday with a group of friends when he was accused of inappropriately touching a 12-year-old who was dressed in a bear costume.

He described the incident to the Sunday World as "the worst thing you could ever be accused of".

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