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Former footballer jailed for spitting blood over PSNI officer

By George Jackson

Published 08/08/2015

A once-promising footballer whose career was ruined because of his alcohol addiction has been jailed for nine months after he admitted spitting blood over a police officer in a hospital
A once-promising footballer whose career was ruined because of his alcohol addiction has been jailed for nine months after he admitted spitting blood over a police officer in a hospital

A once-promising footballer whose career was ruined because of his alcohol addiction has been jailed for nine months after he admitted spitting blood over a police officer in a hospital.

Former Derry City and Omagh Town footballer Terence Edward Doherty (39), from Dunluce Court in Londonderry, was taken to Altnagelvin Hospital on July 12 by police officers.

It followed a domestic incident in his former partner's home at Barr's Lane.

A public prosecution solicitor said that the incidents inside the house were witnessed by his ex-partner's two young daughters.

Afterwards, Doherty - who came before the court with 147 previous criminal convictions - was found lying drunk in the front garden.

He had sustained injuries to the knuckles on his right hand after he'd used his fist to smash windows in the house.

His former partner told the police that Doherty had "smashed up her house" and had gone into her bedroom, where she was with her two daughters, aged 16 and six, and asked the children: "Do you want to see your mother being thrown down the stairs?"

The solicitor told Londonderry Magistrates' Court that Doherty then lifted a vacuum cleaner and threw it down the stairs.

His ex-partner managed to force him out of the house but he continued to act aggressively, kicking the front door and smashing several windows.

In hospital, Doherty became abusive and police officers had to handcuff him.

When he asked for the handcuffs to be removed to enable him to use the toilet, the officers, because of his behaviour, refused and he spat blood over one of them.

A defence barrister said it was a tragic case of a once talented footballer who was heading towards a promising career but who became addicted to alcohol.

The barrister said Doherty wanted to give something back to the community by way of coaching young footballers.

However, district judge Barney McElholm noted Doherty's long list of convictions.

"He went through a period of four years without offending between 2007 and 2011," the judge said.

"He has been given many chances by the courts but he has breached that trust."

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