| 9.9°C Dublin

old age puncher Warrant issued for 'brutal assault' bouncer (68) after he fails to appear in court

Pensioner dubbed 'oldest swinger in town' says he didn't appear in court because he has 'hearing problems'

Close

Liam O'Keefe (pictured), a champion body builder, from Drogheda in County Louth, failed to turn up at the local district court after he was found guilty of an assault on Nathan Lennon

Liam O'Keefe (pictured), a champion body builder, from Drogheda in County Louth, failed to turn up at the local district court after he was found guilty of an assault on Nathan Lennon

Liam O'Keefe (pictured), a champion body builder, from Drogheda in County Louth, failed to turn up at the local district court after he was found guilty of an assault on Nathan Lennon

A 68-YEAR-OLD bouncer dubbed 'The oldest swinger in town' after assaulting a young clubber has said he didn't appear in court because he has "hearing problems".

Liam O'Keefe, a champion body builder, from Drogheda in Co. Louth, failed to turn up at the local district court last Monday where he was facing an assault charge.

The 'punching pensioner' was ultimately convicted of, what a judge described, as a "brutal assault" on a young club-goer, two years ago.

O'Keefe was found guilty of assaulting Nathan Lennon, from Mornington, Co. Meath, which took place in the town's Fusion nightclub on the Halloween weekend of 2019.

Judge Eirinn McKiernan issued a bench warrant for his arrest and delayed sentencing.

When the Sunday World called to his home in Drogheda's Ashfield Grove estate on Friday morning, we were informed O'Keefe was at work and given a contact number to call him on.

Close

Liam O'Keefe (pictured), a champion body builder, from Drogheda in County Louth

Liam O'Keefe (pictured), a champion body builder, from Drogheda in County Louth

Liam O'Keefe (pictured), a champion body builder, from Drogheda in County Louth

He later told us: "There are a couple of reasons I didn't turn up in court, firstly I was legally represented, which I thought was sufficient.

"Secondly I have a very bad hearing problem.

"I use hearing aids - so when people who are wearing a mask attempt to speak to me I find it very difficult to follow what they are saying.

"I didn't mean to offend the judge or anyone else."

O'Keefe bizarrely claimed he had forgiven the man that he had attacked.

When asked what he would say to Lennon if he met him again, he said: "Look, I am a man of faith, a very Christian man. I have a deep faith and live my life by God's word.

"So if I met him again I would tell him I have forgiven him for what he has said and done. I have forgiven him already as the Bible teaches that I must forgive before I can be forgiven."

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

In court, Nathan Lennon testified that after a night out with friends in Fusion he realised he was missing headphones and returned to the club from Mornington. He had drank some alcohol that night.

He wanted to go to the cloakroom to see if anyone had handed the headphones in.

He was refused entry to the nightclub and told it would be open the next day. The door was slammed in his face.

When other people were leaving, he blocked the door with his foot. It was the weekend of Halloween and busy.

He denied telling O'Keefe: "You old f***, you shouldn't be working on the door' and 'I'll f***ing bite your ear off'."

Mr Lennon said he was grabbed and the defendant 'punched me repeatedly in the face'.

Close

Liam O'Keefe

Liam O'Keefe

Liam O'Keefe

He suffered multiple bruises and small cuts to his face.

He did not have to go to hospital for treatment. He attended a doctor's surgery. Since then he was anxious and feared going out on his own.

When Gardaí sought CCTV footage of the incident they were initially told it would be provided but management at the club later said the CCTV system had been changed and there was no footage available.

However, a witness who was leaving the club at the time saw what was happening and recorded it on his phone and this was played in court.

In evidence he said: "I realised something was not right when a bouncer was refusing to let in a person on his own. I automatically took out my phone and started recording.

"I then saw two bouncers struggling with someone and pushing them into a corner and repeatedly hitting them."

Speaking to the Sunday World, O'Keefe said he his bad hearing was partly to blame for the incident.

"My poor hearing lead to the problem on the night as the chap was wearing a mask and we had what you might call a problem of communication.

"The club had closed and he was attempting to explain why he wanted to come back in and I was trying to tell him why he couldn't.

"At one point, my thumb got jammed in the door and when I got away from that and went to close the door he had his foot jammed in it."

He added: "In hindsight, I think we could both have handled things better."

The pensioner then defended his record as a doorman, a job he has been doing for six decades.

"This is maybe the second incident like this that I have been involved.

"To be fair, after 51 years working the doors, it is not a bad record.

"Funnily enough, on that night I was only near the entrance door as the friendly face people would see when they were leaving.

"I was more of a meet and greet man than a bouncer that night.

"It's kind of been like that since I got caught up in a rescue situation when the Star Bar here in Drogheda went on fire a few years ago and I was labelled a hero for getting people to safety.

"As a result of that fire I had smoke damage on my lungs, which have never been the same since.

"So my days on the frontline kind of ended then.

"What has happened has happened, but I expect I will be appealing my conviction.

"Over the years I would have raised a lot of money for charity in this town, so the people of Drogheda would be better placed to judge what kind of person I am than most and I'd like to think they'd judge me kindly."

In court, Judge McKiernan said it was very clear to her that Nathan Lennon was 'brutally assaulted'.

She pointed out it was a security person's job to deal with difficult situations but not in this manner.

"CCTV was not made available; it should have been. Thankfully, Mr O'Connor was present and provided a recording."

The Lennon family told the Sunday World, "We have been advised to say nothing, good luck with the article."

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Top Videos





Privacy