herald

Friday 17 August 2018

Stab victim Jonny in witness appeal after vicious attack

DUBLIN footballer Jonny Cooper, who was knifed nine times in the face and neck in a frenzied city attack, has appealed for anyone who can identify his assailant to come forward.

Gardai released an image of the alleged attacker on RTE's CrimeCall last night - but CCTV footage of the horror stabbing was deemed "very distressing" and was not broadcast.

"We have fantastic CCTV footage of this assault but we've taken the decision not to show this because it is a very serious, frenzied, totally unprovoked, random attack on a young man on his way home from a night out," said Superintendent Kevin Gralton.

The 24-year-old GAA hero has been told he may be permanently disfigured by the vicious attack over the weekend.

He took to Twitter ahead of the RTE broadcast to appeal for anyone that can identify his attacker to call gardai.

Meanwhile, as detectives continue to hunt for the thug, his sister Jules has spoken of her relief that Jonny survived the potentially fatal attack.

"It was a major shock when we found out what had happened, but we're thankful because really it could have been a million times worse," she told the Herald. "Jonny doesn't have a clue who the guy was, but we're hoping we'll hear something soon."

She said while her brother is deeply shaken by the ordeal, his "mental strength" has helped him to remain positive.

"Jonny is extremely lucky and he's doing well. He's feeling okay. He is also quite a strong character, and is in good form, considering what he went through. He was told they won't know if he'll have permanent scars until his injuries heal.

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"The person only took a bit of money - but the guy didn't make off with everything Jonny had on him at the time.

"The fact is we don't know why he was attacked or what caused it," she added, saying that Jonny is "overwhelmed" by the support he has received in recent days. Gardai are studying the CCTV footage to help them identify the suspect who attacked Jonny on Dorset Street at about 5am on Saturday while he was on his way home.

Gardai said all of the available evidence indicated that robbery was the motive but they were shocked by the sustained violence of the stabbing.

"This is as bad as I have witnessed in my career. Although it was entirely unprovoked, the attacker was in a frenzy and slashed at Mr Cooper repeatedly with what appeared to be a small knife," said a source.

The victim's father, Brendan, warned that the attacker must be caught as he was likely to strike again.

"It is saddening to think that these type of people are walking around the streets of Dublin. This guy will do more damage," he said.

hnews@herald.ie

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