Ireland soccer star ‘pulled man out of taxi’ after’ nightclub row’

Jeff Hendrick
Jeff Hendrick

REPUBLIC of Ireland football star Jeff Hendrick pulled a nightclubber out of a taxi before the man was set upon by a group of attackers who left him with a broken jaw, it has been alleged.

A court was told Mr Hendrick (24) followed the man in the cab, surrounded it with others and forcibly removed him from it following a row in a club.

A co-defendant Jonathan Doran (24), is accused of assaulting the man who suffered a triple fracture to his jaw, broken teeth and bruising to his head and body.

Both Mr Hendrick and Mr Doran are facing jury trial after a judge ruled the case was too serious to be heard at Dublin District Court.

Judge John Cheatle halted the hearing and adjourned the case for the preparation of books of evidence.

Mr Hendrick (23), who is originally from Kilmore in north Dublin, but now based in England where he plays midfield for Derby County, is pleading not guilty to violent disorder at Harcourt Street on October 12th, 2013.

Mr Doran, of Kilmore Crescent, Artane, is also denying violent disorder, as well as an additional charge of assault causing harm to Darren McDermott.

No assault charge has been brought against Mr Hendrick. Both accused had pleaded not guilty and the district court trial got underway today.

Mr McDermott, who has coached underage soccer, told the court he was out with friends in Krystle nightclub when they met Mr Hendrick with his friends.

Mr McDermott, originally from Kilmore had known Mr Hendrick from the area, to see. He had coached one of Mr Hendrick’s friends when he was younger, he said.

They were “having a laugh and took a couple of photos on the phone.”

It was amiable but that it changed “quite quickly” while  his own friend Alan Kelly was at the bar, he said.

“Jeff just turned, his whole demeanour changed, he wasn’t happy with me being in their company,” he alleged.

Mr McDermott told the court it started off with “verbals” but got “quite aggressive” and he was telling Mr Hendrick to calm down.

This did not help and Mr Kelly intervened, separating them. He said security put Mr Hendrick and some friends outside.

Mr McDermott said he had never had any issues with Mr Hendrick either that night or previously.

“He had just lost it,” he said.

Mr McDermott was upset and decided to leave. He said he saw Mr Hendrick and five to six friends gathered outside at the top of the steps.

He alleged Mr Hendrick “went to have a go again,” saying “ultimately, he was looking to hit me or assault me, you could see it in his demeanour he was trying to get at me, I was quite intimidated.”

He said two of Mr Hendrick’s friends tried to calm him down but others were “getting a bit tetchy.”

He said he ran and jumped into a taxi while Mr Kelly “held off the others.” After a few yards, the taxi was surrounded by Mr Hendrick and three to four friends, he said. The taxi was blocked from moving and being banged.

Mr McDermott said he locked the doors, pleaded with the driver to drive on and offered him €100. He said “I will get a hiding if I get out of the taxi here.”

Mr McDernott said Mr Hendrick “was asking me to get out, pulling at the handle, trying to get at me.”

The driver took off the locks.

“Jeff Hendrick opened the door and forcibly pulled me out of the taxi,” he alleged.

He asked him to calm down, but said Mr Hendrick was “that out of it” he remained aggressive.

Mr McDernott said he ran and was chased, hearing people shout “come back, come back.”

“Next thing I remember I was on the ground, I don’t know how I hit the ground, but straight away, people laid into me, kicking me in the head and ribs,” he said. “I had my hands over my head trying to protect myself.”

He heard girls screaming: “get off him, get away from him” and said “God know what would have happened… I just feel like they saved my life.”

The people left and the gardai arrived.

Judge Cheatle stopped the trial before any more evidence was heard and refused jurisdiction, adjourning the case to a date in April.

Andrew Pheland