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Former Watford FC youth goalkeeper, Liam McDonagh, had skull fractured in hammer attack
5:10pm Sunday 1st September 2013 in News
A teenage former Watford FC goalkeeper was left with a fractured skull after being attacked by a father-of-two armed with a hammer.
Liam McDonagh, 18, was celebrating his mother’s 50th birthday. at the Shanakee Pub in High Street, Wealdstone, in February when he got into an altercation with Brian Moore, 31, of Lemsford Road, Hatfield.
Moore left the scene before returning with a hammer in the back pocket of his jeans.
A fight broke out between the two with an eye witness reporting Mr McDonagh head-butted Moore before the pair continued to scuffle, moving into the middle of the road.
Moore was then seen to reach into his back pocket and grab the hammer before hitting Mr McDonagh on the head with it.
The teenager, who used to attend the Hornets’ Centre for Excellence and last season played in Uxbridge FC’s youth team, fell to the floor with blood pouring from his head in front of his devastated family.
He was rushed to hospital suffering from a fractured skull and bruising to his brain, and had to undergo surgery.
Prosecutor Neena Crinnion told the court: "There was a degree of meditation. Mr Moore went away and armed himself with a claw hammer and decided to use it against this young man."
But Revantha Amarasinha, defending, said: "Mr Moore felt that he was being stared at and felt intimidated and outnumbered.
"He didn’t actually go there with the intention of using the hammer. It came out after he was assaulted."
The court was told how Mr McDonagh, a semi-professional goalkeeper who has played for Watford and Uxbridge, has been badly affected by the incident.
He has been told he cannot play football or continue to work as a steward at Arsenal Football Club for the next six months. He has lost two-and-a-half stone and cannot remember the incident outside the Shanakee Pub.
Moore was jailed for five years and three months for one count of grievous bodily harm and one count of possession of an offensive weapon in a public place, both of which he previously pleaded guilty to.
Sentencing Moore, Judge Jonathan Mann said: "This was an extremely serious offence.
"I do not accept this is a case of excessive self defence."
But Mr McDonagh’s parents David and Paula McDonagh were disappointed with the sentence.
Speaking to the Watford Observer’s sister paper the Harrow Times, David McDonagh, 52, said: "The night of the incident we were told our son wasn’t going to make it. We thought he was going to die.
"Moore has taken everything away from him. He can't play football and he can't work.
"It’s absolutely disgusting Moore's only got five years. He should have got a lot more for what he’s done. We’ve been cheated."
Mrs McDonagh, 50, said: "It makes me feel sick Moore's sentence was that low.
"We worry every time Liam goes out the door or wants to go to a nightclub. We’re scared something like this could happen again."
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