Footballer ‘fractured chef’s skull in attack’

A CHEF suffered a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain after being attacked by a top footballer and his uncle at a party, a court has heard.

Picture: Julie Bull

Steven Findlay, 45, had more than 22 staples inserted in his head and was kept in a hospital’s high dependency unit for five days after allegedly being battered by Declan Gallagher, 24, a defender with SPFL championship club Livingston, and Anthony Murray, 29.

Mr Findlay had been at the Parkville Hotel in Blantyre, Lanarkshire, with his partner Marie Dockery for a party when trouble flared in April 2013.

Sign up to our Football newsletter

Sign up to our Football newsletter

It is alleged Gallagher, of Dundee, and Murray, of Blantyre, repeatedly punched and kicked him on the head and body, knocked him to the ground and struck him on the head with a baseball bat or similar implement to his severe injury and danger of life.

A further charge alleges Murray attacked Miss Dockery.

Both men deny the charges and have claimed self defence.

A jury at Hamilton Sheriff Court heard claims Gallagher, Murray and a third unknown man attacked Mr Findlay as he waited for a taxi following an earlier disturbance allegedly involving Murray and Miss Dockery.

He said: “I was then approached by three men to my right hand side who had got out a black BMW across the road.

“I saw one of the guys get out and put a black baseball cap on and simulate he was putting something down the back of his trousers.

“The three of them headed straight towards me.

“The guy with the cap (identified as Murray) came straight towards me and called me a baldy c**t and I replied, ‘Oh it’s the guy who beat my wife up.’

“He came towards me as if to strike me so I put my hands up to defend myself but then I was struck from the side.

“The taller guy (identified as Gallagher) was to the right hand side and the other chubby one was to the middle.

“I remember them surrounding me and getting a large bang to side of my head.

“I was engaged with the one who threatened me so assume one of the other two had struck me with something heavy.

“I then remember waking up on the floor and receiving a kick on the face while I was down.

“After that I woke up and someone was putting a towel on my head because I had suffered a serious head trauma.”

Mr Findlay told the trial he was taken to Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride where he received treatment for serious injuries.

He also claimed he lost his position as a head chef after taking lengthy absences from work.

He added: “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.

“I find it hard to believe that the three people who approached me were not involved.

“I find it hard to think of any other reason why I got the injuries, I had not met any of them before that night.”

Gallagher, of Dundee, a former Celtic youth team player, signed for Dundee from Clyde before joining Livingston last summer.

The trial continues.