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Ex-soccer star stabbed man in neck and stomach outside pub

A FORMER professional footballer stabbed an innocent man in the stomach leaving him needing 42 stitches.

Trevor Donnelly (38) stabbed Keith Noone as the victim was climbing over railings on a small wall in the middle of a verbal altercation between two groups of people outside a Dublin pub.

The row had started between a woman in Mr Noone's company and a female friend of Donnelly's, but the victim had nothing to do with it and was on his way home to get chips when he was attacked. Donnelly, of Balrothery Estate, Tallaght, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on the day of his trial to assault causing serious harm at the Village Inn Pub, Finglas, on April 10, 2010.

He is a former League of Ireland footballer.

The court heard that 10 years previously Donnelly was left with a fractured skull after he was attacked with a baseball bat by Liam Byrne (32), of Raleigh Square, Crumlin.

Byrne was described in court yesterday as a gang member.

Byrne was convicted by a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury in December 2000 of assaulting Donnelly causing him serious harm on April 23, 2000. Byrne was later jailed for four years.

Detective Garda Eamonn Maloney, who was a witness for the defence, told Judge Mary Ellen Ring, that although almost 50 people witnessed the attack on Donnelly, only he and his then girlfriend made statements to the gardai.







Shots

The couple were later told by the criminal and his associates that they would be killed if they gave evidence and were offered IR£50,000 not to bring the case to trial. The trial went ahead, twice, with Donnelly and his partner acting as State witnesses before his attacker was convicted. Det Garda Maloney said that since 2000 Donnelly has lived in constant fear.

In May 2005 shots were fired at his front door and his car was later vandalised.

Garda Keith McGrath told Fiona McGowan, prosecuting, that Mr Noone required 42 stitches across his stomach and chest area and seven stitches to his neck.

Mr Noone spent five days in hospital and has been left with reduced power and movement in his left shoulder. He continues to attend for physiotherapy and counselling.

Colman Fitzgerald, defending said his client was a talented footballer and played in the League of Ireland.

He said his client regrets the attack but asked the court to accept that he stabbed Mr Noone in the context of the fear he had been living under at the time. Judge Ring adjourned the case to next Wednesday for sentence and remanded Donnelly in custody until that date.

hnews@herald.ie