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Monday 20 November 2017

Hendrick trial jury told of 'I will dance on your family's heads' message

Ireland star Jeff Hendrick. Photo: Collins Courts
Ireland star Jeff Hendrick. Photo: Collins Courts

The alleged victim in Ireland footballer Jeff Hendrick's violent disorder trial has admitted he sent the star a message telling him: "I'm looking forward to ending your career."

He also admitted sending the Artane midfielder a message in which he said he would "dance" on the heads of certain family members, a court heard.

Darren McDermott gave evidence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that Burnley star Mr Hendrick (25) dragged him from a taxi outside a nightclub after a row had broken out inside the club.

He said he ended up on the ground and suffered kicks to his head, face, chest and back.

Mr Hendrick and a co- accused, Jonathan Doran (26), have both denied charges of committing violent disorder at Harcourt Street, Dublin, on October 12, 2013.

Mr Doran is also charged with assaulting Mr McDermott, causing him harm, which he denies.

On day two of the trial, Mr McDermott was under cross- examination by Sean Gillane, defending Mr Hendrick.

Mr Gillane put it to him that, after he joined Mr Hendrick's group in Krystal nightclub, he became "touchy-feely".

Headlocks

"Do you remember putting your arms around people, putting your arms around their necks, headlocks, becoming touchy-feely?" counsel asked. The witness said he could not recall.

Counsel said he had begun slagging Mr Hendrick's team- mates, who had that night lost a match to Germany, calling them "crap and s***e".

Co-accused Jonathan Doran. Photo: Collins Courts
Co-accused Jonathan Doran. Photo: Collins Courts

Mr McDermott said he could not remember this and denied that he had slagged Mr Hendrick's family.

He accepted that, when Mr Hendrick asked him to leave their group, he did not. He said he instead asked Mr Hendrick "what the problem was".

Mr Gillane put it to him that he had "become a bit of a menace and an annoyance" and said Mr Hendrick told him repeatedly to "f**k off". He said he did not remember becoming a menace.

Mr Gillane said that, in his five witness statements to gardai, Mr McDermott had never said Mr Hendrick said the words "I'll kill you" when pulling him from the taxi until he said this in evidence on the first day of the trial.

Mr McDermott replied: "Maybe not those exact words, but the threats were there."

Counsel suggested the words were "introduced" by him as part of his "agenda to ensure Mr Hendrick is blackened" or to get revenge.

Alleged victim Darren McDermott
Alleged victim Darren McDermott

Mr McDermott denied he was out to get revenge, but added: "I blame him for everything that happened. He was the aggressor, he was the one who pulled me from the taxi."

He denied that his animosity extended to him trying to affect his career and "trying to bring him down".

He agreed with Mr Gillane that in March 2014 he sent a tweet to Mr Hendrick saying: "I'm looking forward to ending your career." He also accepted he sent a message stating: "I'll dance on your brother, your mother and your dad's head, you're a scumbag."

Anger

He told Mr Gillane he was experiencing a lot of anger and suffering at the time.

Mr Gillane put it to him that the messages were evidence that he was "capable of salty language" that would "push particular buttons". The witness said they were part of a "back and forth" exchange.

Counsel put it to Mr McDermott that on the same day he sent the tweet his solicitor wrote to Mr Hendrick claiming damages. The witness said he was not sure of the date, but earlier he agreed he was suing Mr Hendrick.

Mr Gillane put it to the witness that this was a case of "drunken handbags between two people in a nightclub which is run of the mill". The witness agreed and said if it had ended at that moment, he probably would never have thought of it again.

Counsel said his client was shouting at him "you f**king ruined my night" and put it to Mr McDermott that he "returned fire" and said to him: "Who the f**k do you think you are?"

Mr McDermott said he might have said that but there was no aggression from him. The trial continues.

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