Saturday 16 December 2017

Ireland international star Hendrick 'said he would kill me'

'Footballer pulled me out of taxi before attack,' court told

Soccer star Jeff Hendrick (25), originally from Kilmore Drive, Artane, leaves the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday. Picture: Collins
Soccer star Jeff Hendrick (25), originally from Kilmore Drive, Artane, leaves the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court yesterday. Picture: Collins

Sonya McLean

A Dublin man has said he was left with multiple fractures to his jaw following an attack by a group of men, minutes after professional footballer Jeff Hendrick dragged him from a stopped taxi.

Mr Hendrick (25), originally from Kilmore Drive, Artane, Dublin, but now living in the UK, pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to committing violent disorder at Harcourt Street, Dublin, on October 12, 2013.

A co-accused, Jonathan Doran (26), of Kilmore Close, Artane, also pleaded not guilty to the charge of violent disorder. In addition, Mr Doran, who works as a barber in Ratoath, Co Meath, pleaded not guilty to a charge of assault causing harm to Darren McDermott at the junction of Montague Street and Harcourt Street on the same date.

Mr McDermott said he had been in Krystle nightclub earlier that night when he bumped into two men he knew who were in the company of Mr Hendrick.

He said he initially mixed well with the group but at some point the footballer's demeanour changed.

Intimidating

Mr McDermott told the jury Mr Hendrick became so aggressive that bouncers intervened and escorted him off the premises.

Mr McDermott left 10 minutes later with his friend. He could see Mr Hendrick waiting outside.

Co-accused Jonathan Doran. Picture: Collins
Co-accused Jonathan Doran. Picture: Collins

He told the jury he found it very intimidating and tried to get back into the nightclub but the bouncers didn't want any more hassle and pointed him in the direction of a nearby taxi rank.

Mr McDermott got into the front passenger seat of a waiting taxi which headed towards St Stephen's Green before it came to a stop at a set of lights.

He told the jury that Mr Hendrick appeared at his window and the rest of the car was surrounded by a group of his friends. "They were banging on the bonnet and window. They wanted me to get out.

"Mr Hendrick was telling me to get out and was saying he would kill me," Mr McDermott said.

He told the jury at this point Mr Hendrick opened the car door and pulled him from the taxi.

"I tried to calm him down. I thought it was getting a little more serious. I was afraid I was going to get a bit of hiding," Mr McDermott said before he added that he then made the decision to run.

Darren McDermott claims he was assaulted. Picture: Courtpix
Darren McDermott claims he was assaulted. Picture: Courtpix

"I was afraid for my safety...afraid I was going to be assaulted or even worse. I sprinted off. I remember hitting the ground and people on top of me, laying into me."

He told Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting, he couldn't see who was chasing after him and he didn't know how he ended up on the ground.

He described kicks to his head, face, chest and back.

"I was curled in a ball trying to protect my head as much as possible," Mr McDermott continued.

He told the jury he then heard some girls' voices screaming to get off him and the assault came to an end.

"My jaw was wobbly, some of my front teeth were smashed and my bottom teeth were loose. I never once hit any of them," he told the jury.

Gardaí arrived a short time later before he got a taxi to Beaumont hospital near his family home.

Mr McDermott said he had three fractures to his jaw, four of his teeth were smashed and others were loose.

He was transferred to St James's Hospital where he got plates inserted into his jaw and spent a couple of days in hospital.

Judge Martin Nolan warned the jury against researching anything to do with the case on the internet. The trial continues before Judge Nolan and a jury of seven men and five women.

Irish Independent

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