Sunday 22 September 2019

Man who stabbed GAA star Cooper 'a danger to society'

Dublin footballer Jonny Cooper was stabbed in the face
Dublin footballer Jonny Cooper was stabbed in the face
Eimear Cotter

Eimear Cotter

A man who stabbed Dublin GAA star Jonny Cooper nine times in the face and neck in a random assault has been sentenced to seven years in prison with two suspended.

Mark Lavelle (32) had taken crystal meth before the attack and had also assaulted a taxi driver and stolen his cab.

All-Ireland-winning footballer Mr Cooper had been out with his Na Fianna teammates when he was attacked on Dorset Street. A passing driver spotted him stumbling up the street with his back soaked in blood and rang gardaí.

Officers followed a trail of blood to a nearby chip shop, and CCTV from the vicinity helped them capture Lavelle.

Mr Cooper wasn't in court but in a victim impact statement read on Wednesday he said he was constantly looking over his shoulder.

Passing sentence yesterday afternoon, Judge Martin Nolan said Mr Cooper was "viciously attacked with a knife". Thankfully he recovered and had "gone on to fame in his chosen sport".

He imposed two consecutive sentences of three and a half years, making a total of seven years. In light of the guilty plea, the judge said he would suspend two years of the seven-year sentence.

Lavelle, who is originally from Swinford, Co Mayo, but with an address at Basin Street, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Mr Cooper at Dorset Street Upper on September 20, 2014.

He also admitted to seriously assaulting Thomas Smith in Palmerstown at around 2am on the Saturday and to hijacking his car.

He has 62 previous convictions.

Irish Independent

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