'Just go home' - my four-year nightmare over nightclub punch
A Dublin model has appealed to young men to go home if they fear trouble is brewing on a night out, after he himself stood trial for serious assault.
Marks and Spencer worker Shane Kirkwood (26) was catapulted into the limelight last week when US media giant Buzzfeed featured a piece about him. The influential site described how Mr Kirkwood, from the Coombe in South Dublin, was an MMA fighter, a model and avid Harry Potter fan.
In 2011 Mr Kirkwood became embroiled in a dispute at a Temple Bar club, which left a man needing surgery.
He explained how he broke a man's jaw after a row between their then girlfriends in Sin nightclub.
Aaron Cruise needed surgery to insert titanium plates in his jaw after the incident.
But a jury unanimously found Mr Kirkwood not guilty after CCTV showed he acted in self-defence.
Now he has issued an appeal to all young men to just walk away if they ever find themselves involved in a dispute.
"The whole process took four years and they were some of the darkest times of my life. I was let go from my job... I learned so much.
"If I could go back to that time in that nightclub, rather than approach the guy to try to de-escalate the trouble, I would have just gone home," Mr Kirkwood said.
He described how the case hung over him for four years before he was eventually found not guilty in 2015.
"[In court] I looked at my mother in the court and I felt so sorry because she had raised me better than that. If I was found guilty I would have missed the birth of my son. That's terrifying," he said.
"Just go home, if you think trouble is on the horizon, just go home. It's really, really not worth it," he advised young men.