NewsCrime Desk

Ted’s shock at sex-attack jock

Crime DeskBy Eugene Masterson
Ted Walsh
Ted Walsh

TOP trainer Ted Walsh has spoken of his shock at the revelation he recently gave a trial run to a jockey convicted of sex offences.

Ted told the Sunday World that if he had known the jockey was a convicted sex offender it would have “clouded my judgement to take him on”.

Maurice Fitzgerald (21), from Buttevant, Co. Cork, was convicted of sexually assaulting a young woman in Tipperary town late at night two years ago.

Fitzgerald was given a four-year suspended jail sentence and ordered to pay E5,000 compensation to the victim, who he assaulted in the car park of a Tipperary post office in the early hours of January 13, 2013.

The court heard how the young woman bravely fought off Fitzgerald and managed to escape.

Prosecuting barrister David Humpreys recounted that Fitzgerald pleaded guilty in March last year to committing the sexual assault.

He said the victim had been out that night and was making her way through the town and went to make a “call of nature”.

While she was doing this Fitzmaurice put his hands on her shoulders and pulled her back. She fell on her back and he got on top of her. She screamed and told him not to touch her. He put his hand over her mouth and she bit him.

He punched her on the side of the head and tried to open his pants, but she scratched his face and managed to run away and get help.

Defence barrister Mary O’Dwyer said Fitzgerald was under the influence of drink and drugs at the time and he had treatment for his addiction issues since. She pointed out that Fitzgerald was due to start a job with Ted Walsh the week after the court hearing.

Fitzgerald told the court he felt suicidal after the incident and had trouble sleeping. He said the job he secured with Ted Walsh was a “massive opportunity” for him.

Ted Walsh, whose children are top jockeys Ruby and Kate Walsh, told the Sunday World he knew nothing about Fitzgerald’s background when he briefly hired him recently.

“I gave him a trial run, but it didn’t work out,” Ted told us. “Sometimes jockeys work out and some don’t. We let him go last Monday.”

He said he had “no idea” about Fitzgerald’s conviction when recommended by another trainer.

He agreed that many people deserve a “second chance”.