A FORMER Livingston footballer stood shaking in the dock as he was jailed for three years for smashing a baseball bat over a man’s head during a fight outside a hotel.
Declan Gallagher, who made 28 appearances for the Championship side last season, left Steven Findlay, 45, suffering from bleeding on the brain and a fractured skull after brutally attacking him.
Mr Findlay 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 defender Gallagher – whose Livingston contract expried at the end of the season – 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 the 24-year-old, from Dundee, was sent to prison for three years at Hamilton Sheriff Court.
His co-accused, Anthony Murray, 29, from Blantyre, was also jailed for three years for his role in the attack and had a four month term for attacking Mr Findlay’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. “
Mr Findlay, from Coatbridge, told during the trial 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.”
Friends and family of both men sobbed uncontrollably as the sentences were delivered.