Sunday 23 October 2016

Dubs star Cooper tells of fear after city knife attack

Dublin GAA star Jonny Cooper
Dublin GAA star Jonny Cooper

Dublin GAA star Jonny Cooper is "constantly looking over his shoulder" following the frenzied and unprovoked attack he suffered in the city on September 20 last year, a court has heard.

Mark Lavelle (32), originally from Bollingbrook, Swinford, but with an address at Basin Street, Dublin, pleaded guilty yesterday to assault causing harm to the Dublin and Na Fianna footballer in the early hours of September 20, 2014, at Dorset Street Upper in Dublin.

He also admitted at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the assault causing harm of Thomas Smith at Kennelsfort Road Upper, in Palmerstown, at around 2am on that Saturday and to hijacking Mr Smith's car.

The Mayo man was on crystal meth when he carried out the attack on Cooper hours after attacking a taxi driver.


Mr Cooper received nine stab wounds to his forehead, eyelid and neck area. He spent one night in hospital.

A brief victim impact report stated that Mr Cooper was out of work for two weeks and although he has facial scars it was his understanding that they would fade in time.

He said he was constantly looking over his shoulder in the aftermath of the attack and was apprehensive going to work.

He had no recollection of the assault, and gardai were called to the scene after a passing taxi driver noticed the footballer stumbling along Dorset Street with his back covered in blood.

Officers later followed a trail of blood from where they met Mr Cooper to a nearby takeaway and secured CCTV footage from it. The court heard Mr Cooper had played a club match earlier on the day and gone out with his team afterwards to Copper Face Jacks. He remembered leaving there quite late and becoming separated from his friends.

The next thing he recalled was talking to a passing taxi driver who had come to his aid after he saw Mr Cooper stumbling around in blood-soaked clothes.

Lawyers for Lavelle said that he suffered from a mental disorder and had been with the State's psychiatric services since his mid-teens.

His 62 previous convictions include assaults, criminal damage, possession of knives, possession of drugs, burglary, robbery, violent behaviour in a garda station, trespass, and altering a prescription.

Judge Martin Nolan remanded Lavelle in continuing custody for sentence today.

Detective Garda Padraig Jennings told John Fitzgerald BL, prosecuting, that at around 2am, Lavelle had attacked the taxi driver and taken his car after the driver had picked him up in the city and driven him to Palmerstown Shopping Centre.

Counsel said that, on the night, Lavelle wanted to return to Mayo urgently to discuss "some rather bizarre topics" with his mother.

He said his client he was not in his right mind and desperately needed to be in the Central Mental Hospital.

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