Reality TV star avoids jail term after Shotton pub headbutt

Published date: 07 March 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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MY Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty has walked away from court after he admitted headbutting his stepbrother.

Doherty, 55, breached the terms of a suspended jail sentence when he committed the assault at a Flintshire pub last October.

The 2011 winner of Celebrity Big Brother had previously been handed a 31-week jail term, suspended for two years, in January 2012, after he brawled in the street with a fellow traveller.

Sentencing him at Manchester Crown Court, Judge Michael Henshell told Doherty yesterday he was “too old” to appear before the courts for fighting in pubs.

But he said he did not believe it was necessary to send him to prison as he imposed a six-month supervision order.

The court heard Doherty and his victim, Douglas McDonagh, were attending a wake at The Melrose pub in Shotton following a family funeral.

During the evening a row broke out over why Mr McDonagh had not invited his brother, Martin, to his daughter’s wedding.

Later, CCTV footage showed Doherty headbutt Douglas McDonagh twice which saw him drop to the floor.

Martin McDonagh, 52, then stepped in to apparently protect him before he joined in and punched him two or three times.

The complainant suffered cuts above both eyes as well as a swollen nose.

Mark Rhind, defending, passed a letter to the judge from the victim in which he conceded he had provoked both of his assailants and on his own account was “eight out of 10 drunk”.

The barrister said: “What happens is all the protagonists in this incident are having a drink.

“There appears to be no sign of trouble, then there is an incident where Mr Doherty headbutts Douglas McDonagh twice.

“Martin McDonagh keeps them apart and gets a cloth and wipes Douglas’s face and thereafter there appears to be an exchange of words and then Martin McDonagh strikes Douglas three times. Thereafter the incident is over.”

He said Douglas had admitted “deliberately goading” the pair into a reaction by “using specific insults designed to provoke”.

A letter confirming that account of events was passed to the judge, along with references from two doctors and a female member of the clergy, who did not wish to be named.

Mr Rhind said: “He has got through 21 of the 24 months (the suspended term), not through just completing the sentence but by positively reacting to that sentence.”

Judge Henshell told him: “You are now aged 55.

“You are too old to be coming back before the courts for fighting in pubs when emotions are raised – partly through drink, partly because of the occasion after a funeral and partly because you were provoked.

“You had successfully almost completed the sentence which was imposed by this court.

“Bearing in mind all I have read about you and heard about you, I do not believe it is necessary to send you to prison today.”

Doherty was also ordered to pay £85 costs and was told to abide by a three-year restraining order prohibiting contact with Douglas McDonagh.

Doherty, of Queensferry, told the judge: “Thank you very much.”

Outside court his solicitor, Michael Sophocleous, said: “Paddy is upset that this matter was brought up in court and it should have been dealt with in the family. Paddy is happy with the result today and just wants to move on with his life.”

Doherty had previously pleaded guilty at Flintshire Magistrates Court to assault by beating and was brought to Manchester Crown Court when the breach was triggered.

Martin McDonagh was sentenced by magistrates to a 12-month community order after he, too, admitted assault.

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