Soccer star avoids jail for headbutting Elvis impersonator in club
Soccer star Anthony Stokes has avoided jail for headbutting an Elvis impersonator in a Dublin nightclub.
The Blackburn Rovers and Ireland striker was given a two-year suspended sentence. Stokes paid his victim €30,000 for breaking his nose and two of his teeth, but is potentially facing a second payout, as he is being sued in the High Court.
Former car park attendant Anthony Bradley (53) was attacked by Stokes in the VIP section of what was then Buck Whaleys nightclub on Leeson Street on June 8 2013.
Dressed in a suit and tie, 28-year-old Stokes did not speak during the hearing at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.
The father of two, who is awaiting the birth of a third child, apologised through a lawyer at the hour-long hearing.
The court heard Stokes had been in Buck Whaleys with friends, one of whom twice spilled drink over Mr Bradley at about 3am. Mr Bradley, who had arrived two hours earlier and only had one pint in the club, spoke to the friend in a "friendly manner" about the spillage. Within three or four seconds, Stokes had intervened and headbutted him, the court was told.
Parts of statements from members of staff were read to the court, including one which said Stokes was escorted from the premises without further incident and had told an employee: "If someone puts it up to me, I'm going to nut him."
Stokes rang the hostess of the nightclub the next day to apologise. He is currently a striker for Blackburn, who sit second last in the English Championship.
Previously, he spent six years playing for Celtic, and has six Scottish league title medals and nine Republic of Ireland caps.
Judge Patricia Ryan said she was taking into consideration "the seriousness of the offence and the personal circumstances" of Stokes.
A victim impact statement was read to the court.
Mr Bradley was headbutted across the bridge of his nose and suffered a deviated septum and two front teeth were broken, in what was described as a "nasty, cowardly attack".
His medical bills have cost €13,500 over the past three-and-a-half years, the court heard.
He missed eight months of work in his job as a car park attendant in the Gresham Hotel in Dublin following the incident and subsequently stopped working as he suffered physical and psychological effects.
Mr Bradley said he was bubbly and outgoing before the incident, but is now on daily medication for anxiety, depression and loss of sleep, and that he expects to need more dental work.
"I never thought I'd find myself in this situation," he said.
Judge Ryan said the €30,000 was not compensation, but a practical expression of remorse, and she also ordered Stokes, who is living in Blackburn, to sign a bond to be on good behaviour for two years.
Stokes has no previous convictions. Three testimonials were handed in to the judge, one from a teacher at Terenure College, another from a coach at Home Farm football club and another from a drill sergeant in the Irish Army, with whom Stokes did pre-season training.