Ex-Irish star Stokes avoids jail for headbutting 'Elvis'
Former Ireland star Anthony Stokes yesterday avoided jail for headbutting an Elvis impersonator at a Dublin nightclub.
Stokes (28) had previously pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to Anthony Bradley (53) at Buck Whaleys on Leeson Street, Dublin, in 2013.
The father-of-two was given a two-year suspended sentence.
Stokes, who currently plays for Blackburn Rovers in England, has nine international caps with the Irish team.
The court heard that Mr Bradley had words with a man in Stokes' company because he was unsteady on his feet and spilling his drink. The conversation was not aggressive, said witnesses.
Stokes "arrived out of nowhere", said Mr Bradley, and head-butted him on the nose. He was bleeding so badly that a friend, who was standing with him, was covered in blood.
Mr Bradley, who previously worked as a car park attendant at the Gresham Hotel in Dublin, was later treated for a fractured nose and two broken teeth.
The court heard that as Stokes was removed from the club he said: "I didn't start it. If someone puts it up to me I am going to nut them."
Dean Kelly, defending, said Stokes wished to apologise for what he described as "a nasty and cowardly thing to do".
Stokes had €30,000 in court in recognition of Mr Bradley's medical costs to date. The court heard that civil proceedings are continuing in the High Court.
Stokes rang Buck Whaleys the next day to apologise for his behaviour and said he could not remember what happened.
He was arrested by arrangement through his solicitor but made no comment during interview. The case was set down for trial twice before he pleaded guilty last November.
Mr Bradley, who was unable to work for eight months after the assault, had to undergo extensive dental work and surgery to his nose, which to date has cost him €13,500.
He also said he now has chronic neck pain which prevented him from sleeping properly at night. It was accepted, however, that he had a pre-existing neck problem, but Mr Bradley believes the assault exacerbated it.
Mr Bradley said he was now on medication for depression and pain to "sustain some standard of life", and would need more extensive dental work.
Judge Patricia Ryan described the attack as a serious assault and noted that Mr Bradley continues to suffer.
She accepted that Stokes had apologised in court and had €30,000, which Mr Bradley accepted, as "a practical expression of his remorse" before she suspended the jail sentence strict conditions.