Thursday 19 April 2018

Soccer star Stokes must pay Elvis impersonator €230,000 over headbutt

Anthony Bradley. Photo: Collins
Anthony Bradley. Photo: Collins

Aodhan O Faolain

Irish international footballer Anthony Stokes must pay €230,000 in damages to an Elvis Presley impersonator he headbutted and seriously injured in a Leeson Street nightclub.

At the High Court yesterday a jury, after deliberating for just over 90 minutes, unanimously found that the 28-year-old Blackburn Rovers footballer had assaulted 53-year-old Anthony Bradley.

The jury found that Mr Bradley was entitled to general damages, aggravated damages, and damages to cover the cost of medical expenses already paid for by Mr Bradley for the injuries he sustained.

He must also pay Mr Bradley's legal costs.

Stokes was not in court but had lodged a defence denying Mr Bradley's claims. Before the trial started, Mr Justice Colm Mac Eochaidh heard Stokes had discharged his legal team earlier this month and was aware the case was listed for hearing.

Mr Bradley sued Stokes seeking damages after he was headbutted while in the VIP Lounge at Buck Whaleys in the early hours of June 8, 2013.

Anthony Stokes. Photo: Collins
Anthony Stokes. Photo: Collins

Mr Stokes, who has won nine caps for Ireland and has played for clubs including Celtic, Hibernian and Sunderland before joining Blackburn last summer, was not legally represented at the damages hearing.

John O'Donnell SC, for Mr Bradley, said his client's solicitor had been informed Mr Stokes would not be attending because the footballer's partner was due to give birth.

Earlier, Mr O'Donnell said the "unprovoked attack" on his client by Stokes was "nasty and cowardly". As a result, Mr Bradley had suffered both physical and psychological injuries. The court was also told that he was "not the man he had been before the incident".

In his evidence Mr Bradley, from Kylemore Road in Ballyfermot in Dublin, said he had performed as an Elvis impersonator for many years, but since the assault he was unable to do this anymore.

He said he was at the nightclub when a person spilled drink on him.

While he was dealing with this person and telling him "it was OK" Mr Stokes appeared and headbutted him.

He "did not know" if that other person and Stokes knew each other.

The bouncers at the club removed Stokes.

Mr Bradley said he required medical attention and there was "a lot of blood".

He suffered injuries including a broken nose, and damage to his teeth.

He later developed problems with his neck.

It was accepted in court that he had a pre-existing undiagnosed condition which caused the issue with his neck but Mr Bradley said the assault exacerbated it.

He had surgery and dental procedures at home and overseas, and has been having ongoing treatment for his neck pain.

Mr Bradley will require further medial and dental treatment in the future.

He had also given up his job at the Gresham Hotel, in Dublin. He said Mr Stokes never apologised to him.

Mr Bradley said he had been approached at his home by Anthony Stokes' mother and was contacted twice by the player's sister before the criminal trial.

Mr Justice Mac Eochaidh awarded costs against Mr Stokes. While he took a "dim view" of his non attendance, he declined to award costs against the footballer on a solicitor-client basis, the highest level possible.

Irish Independent

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