A FOOTBALLER who smashed a baseball bat over a man’s head after violence flared outside a hotel has been jailed for three years.
Livingston defender Declan Gallagher, 24, left Steven Findlay, 45, suffering from bleeding on the brain and a fractured skull after brutally attacking him.
Steven had more than 22 staples inserted in his head and was kept in a hospital’s high dependency unit for five days after violence flared at The Parkville in Blantyre, Lanarkshire.
Former Celtic youth star Gallagher had been at the party with his family in April 2013 and had admitted fighting with Steven but insisted he had not used a weapon.
But Gallagher, of Dundee, stood shaking in the dock at Hamilton Sheriff Court today after a sheriff ordered him to jailed for three years for the incident.
His co-accused, Anthony Murray, 29, of Blantyre, was jailed for three years for his role in the attack and had a four month term for attacking Steven’s girlfriend Marie Dockery, 47, added to his sentence. He will serve that concurrently.
Gallagher’s lawyer Liam O’Donnell had asked for him to be spared jail.
He said: “He is a low risk of re-offending and is unlikely to re-offend.
“He is 24 and is in a stable relationship and is previously a man of good or very good character who does a lot of good things in the community. He is well thought of by his peers and those he comes into contact with.
“He has clearly continued with his good nature and has tried to further his football career.
“It does seem to be a one off and I would ask you to see it that way.
“He would not trouble the courts again and I ask if he is someone you need to send to jail. “
Murray’s lawyer Ian Moir said: “His previous position was that he was not involved and that is his position today.
“He is assessed as low risk of further offending and has no previous convictions and nothing outstanding.”
Steven, of Coatbridge, had told how he lost his post as a head chef as he struggled to recover from his ordeal.
He said: “When I first looked in the mirror I saw two massive splits on the top of my head, heavy swelling on my face and a burst nose.
“I still get sore heads from time to time and my nasal passage is still blocked from where I was kicked.
“I lost my job after it because my boss didn’t take kindly to me being seriously injured.”
Sentencing Gallagher and Murray, Sheriff Douglas Brown said: “It was never in dispute that what was in charge two was a brutal attack and the only option to deal with it is by a custodial sentence.
“There are mitigating circumstances in this case and had it not been for these factors the sentence would have been significantly longer.
“On charge two the period of imprisonment will be one of three years.
“And on charge one, Anthony Murray you will serve four months concurrently.”
Friends and family of both men sobbed uncontrollably as the sentences were delivered.
They were convicted of repeatedly punching and kicking Steven on the head and body, knocking him to the ground and striking him on the head with a baseball bat or similar implement to his severe injury and danger of life.
Gallagher’s contract with Livingston expired at the end of the season.