Row between footballer Hendrick and another man a case of 'drunken handbags', trial told

Latest: The row between professional footballer Jeff Hendrick and another man was just “drunken handbags”, according to his barrister.

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 assault of Darren McDermott causing him harm on the same location and has denied this charge.

Mr McDermott has given evidence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that Mr Hendrick (25) dragged him from a taxi outside a nightclub shortly after a verbal row inside the club. He said he ended up on the ground and received kicks to his head, face, chest and back.

Under cross-examination by Sean Gillane SC, defending Mr Hendrick, Mr McDermott said he couldn't recall becoming a menace or a nuisance to Mr Hendrick's group.

He said he couldn't recall Mr Hendrick saying “will you ever f**k off out of our group?”. He accepted that Mr Hendrick did ask him to leave the group and said he didn't know why.

He said Mr Hendrick had become aggressive. He said he instead asked Mr Hendrick “what the problem was”.

“I was trying to calm him down, will he relax?,” he testified. He said that Mr Hendrick “by all means...could have left if he wasn't happy”.

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 that Mr Hendrick continued to shout at Mr McDermott and bouncers came over and Mr Hendrick was knocked to the ground. The witness said bouncers tackled Mr Hendrick to the ground and then ushered out of the club.

Mr McDermott said that some minutes later he left the nightclub himself and agreed that there were more “verbals” outside the nightclub.

Counsel said that 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 fuck do you think you are?”.

Mr McDermott said he may have said that but said there was no aggression coming from him. Mr Gillane said this was “more drunken handbags, fellas shouting at each other in drink, sadly a run of the mill experience”.

Mr McDermott testified that after getting into a taxi Mr Hendrick and others surrounded the car. He said Mr Hendrick pulled him out of the taxi and said to him “I'll kill you”.

He denied a suggestion by Mr Gillane that he had never given evidence of this threat before and denied that he had “introduced” the words as part of an “agenda” to “blacken” the footballer's name.

He said it was a complete lie to suggest that Mr Hendrick didn't surround the taxi and didn't pull him out of it.

Mr McDermott denied he was out to get revenge on Mr Hendrick 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”.

The witness agreed that months after the incident he may have sent Mr Hendrick messages online saying “I'm looking forward to ending your career” and “I'll dance on your brother, your mother and your Dad's head, you're a scumbag”.

He told Mr Gillane he was experiencing a lot of anger and suffering at the time. He said he wasn't a violent person and that the messages were unrepresentative of him.

Counsel put it to Mr McDermott that on the same day he sent the message, his solicitor wrote to Mr Hendrick claiming damages. The witness said he wasn't sure of the date but he agreed he was suing the footballer and the nightclub for damages.

Mr Hendrick, originally from Kilmore Drive, Artane, Dublin but now living in the UK and Mr Doran of Kilmore Close, Artane deny the charges. The trial continues before Judge Martin Nolan and a jury of seven men and five women.

Jeff Hendrick. Pic: Courtpix.

Earlier:

A witness in the trial of international footballer Jeff Hendrick for alleged violent disorder has said he does not recall being a menace or slagging off the Irish football team on the night.

Darren McDermott has given evidence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that Mr Hendrick (aged 25) dragged him from a taxi outside a nightclub after a verbal row had broken out inside the club. He said he ended up on the ground and received kicks to his head, face, chest and back.

Mr Hendrick and a co-accused, Jonathan Doran (aged 26), have both denied charges of committing violent disorder at Harcourt Street, Dublin on October 12, 2013. Mr Doran is also charged with assault of Mr McDermott causing him harm on the same location and has denied this charge.

On day two of the trial Mr McDermott was under cross-examination by Sean Gillane SC, defending Mr Hendrick. Mr Gillane put it to the witness that after he joined Mr Hendrick's group in Krystal nightclub he became “touchy feely”.

“Do you remember putting your arms around people, putting your arms around their necks, headlocks, becoming touchy feely?” counsel said. The witness said he couldn't recall.

Darren McDermott. Pic: Courtpix.

Counsel said he had begun slagging Mr Hendrick's team mates, who had that night lost a match to Germany, calling them “crap and shite”. Mr McDermott said he couldn't 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 didn't. He said he instead asked Mr Hendrick “what the problem was”.

“I was trying to calm him down, will he relax?,” he testified. He said that Mr Hendrick “by all means...could have left if he wasn't happy”.

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 “fuck off”. He said he didn't remember becoming a menace.

Mr Gillane said that in his five witness statements to gardaí Mr McDermott had never said that 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 Hendricks is blackened” or to get revenge.

Mr McDermott denied he was out to get revenge but stated: “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”. He told Mr Gillane he was experiencing a lot of anger and suffering at the time.

“I'm not a violent person. That doesn't represent me,” he said.

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 that the messages 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 wasn't sure of the date but earlier he agreed he was suing Mr Hendrick.

Mr Hendrick, originally from Kilmore Drive, Artane, Dublin but now living in the UK and Mr Doran (aged 26), of Kilmore Close, Artane deny the charges. The trial continues before Judge Martin Nolan and a jury of seven men and five women.


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