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Irish footballer avoids jail for Elvis impersonator assault: reports

Dublin (AFP) – Irish international footballer Anthony Stokes received a two-year suspended prison sentence Wednesday for head-butting an Elvis Presley impersonator at a Dublin nightclub, according to Irish media reports.

Stokes, 28, who comes from Dublin but has lived in Britain for more than a decade, had previously admitted assaulting Anthony Bradley in the VIP lounge of the former Buck Whaley’s nightclub in the city centre on June 8, 2013.

In a victim impact statement to the court Bradley said the blow delivered by Stokes had forced him to undergo extensive dental work and surgery to his nose. 

He had also been unable to work for eight months and was still on medication for depression.

Stokes pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm, according to RTE, Ireland’s national broadcaster, and The Irish Times.

The Irish Independent quoted police detective Des Rogers as telling the court that when Stokes was being taken from the nightclub after the incident he was heard to say: “What did I do? I didn’t start it. If someone puts it up to me I am going to nut (head-butt) them”.

The court heard Stokes had called the nightclub the following day to apologise for his “nasty and cowardly” behaviour, his defence counsel said. 

The footballer offered to pay 30,000 euros ($32,000) as an “expression of remorse” and this was accepted by the judge.

Separate civil proceedings against Stokes will continue in the Irish High Court.

Stokes, who has been capped nine times at full international level for the Republic of Ireland and currently plays for Blackburn Rovers, has previously played for Arsenal, Celtic and Hibernian.

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