Anthony Stokes ordered to pay €230,000 to Elvis impersonator

Irish international headbutted and seriously injured man in Dublin nightclub

Anthony Stokes at  the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court earlier this month. Photograph: Collins

Anthony Stokes at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court earlier this month. Photograph: Collins


Irish international footballer Anthony Stokes must pay €230,000 damages to an Elvis Presley impersonator whom he headbutted and seriously injured in a Dublin nightclub, a High Court jury has decided.

The jury, after deliberating for just over 90 minutes, unanimously found the 28-year-old Blackburn Rovers footballer had assaulted 53-year-old Anthony Bradley.

Mr Bradley, the jury found, was entitled to general damages, aggravated damages, and damages to cover the cost of medical expenses already paid for by him. The total damages amounted to €230,000. Mr Stokes must also pay Mr Bradley’s legal costs.

Mr Bradley sued Mr Stokes over being headbutted by the player in the VIP lounge at Buck Whaleys nightclub in Leeson Street in the early hours of June 8th, 2013.

Lodged a defence

Mr Stokes, who has won nine caps for Ireland and has played for clubs including Celtic, Hibernian and Sunderland before joining Blackburn last summer, had lodged a defence denying Mr Bradley’s claims but did not attend court and was not legally represented.

Mr Justice Colm Mac Eochaidh was told Mr Stokes had discharged his legal team earlier this month and was aware the case was listed for hearing.

John O’Donnell SC, appearing with Conor Bowman SC, for Mr Bradley said Mr Stokes had informed his client’s solicitor Mr Stokes would not be attending because the footballer’s partner was due to give birth.

This was the same reason Mr Stokes had given concerning his attendance at criminal proceedings late last year, counsel added.

Opening the case, Mr O’Donnell said the “unprovoked attack” on his client by Mr Stokes was “nasty and cowardly”.

Mr Bradley suffered both physical and psychological injuries and was “not the man he had been before the incident”.

Mr Bowman said the injuries suffered by Mr Bradley were “serious”.

Neck problems

In his evidence, Mr Bradley, from Ballyfermot, Dublin, said he was at the nightclub when a person spilled drink on him. While he was dealing with that person and telling him “it was okay”, Mr Stokes appeared and headbutted Mr Bradley.

Mr Stokes was removed by bouncers and he did not know whether the other person and Mr Stokes knew each other.

Mr Bradley said he required medical attention and there was “a lot of blood”.

He suffered injuries including a broken nose and damage to his teeth, and later developed problems with his neck.

It was accepted in court he had a pre-existing undiagnosed condition which caused the issue with his neck but the assault exacerbated it, he said.

He had surgery and dental procedures and has been having ongoing treatment for his neck pain. He will require further medical and dental treatment in the future.

While the teeth and nose could be fixed, the problems with his neck worried him most, he said.

He had performed as an Elvis Presley impersonator for many years, but since the assault was unable to do this any more. He had also given up his job at the Gresham Hotel in Dublin. He also suffered psychological problems and sleepless nights.

Mr Stokes never apologised to him, he said.

He had been approached at his home by Mr Stokes’s mother and was contacted twice by the player’s sister before the criminal trial, he added. He said he explained to them the matter was “out of my hands” as it was the DPP who was bringing the prosecution.

Earlier this month at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Mr Stokes pleaded guilty and received a two-year suspended sentence for assault causing harm.