Former UK’s strongest man Glenn Ross has been handed a suspended prison term after being convicted of a serious assault while working in a Newcastle nightspot.
One punch from the head doorman left a patron with a broken nose, two missing front teeth and other dental injuries following the incident outside Coast nightclub on September 5, 2008.
Ross, of Bangor’s Owenroe Drive, told Downpatrick Magistrates Court yesterday that he hadn’t punched the victim but merely pushed him away after denying him and a friend entry shortly before midnight.
Dermot Walsh said Ross’ fist “came out of nowhere” to hit him “square in the mouth”.
Ross, who had denied causing actual bodily harm, told the court he had been verbally abused by Mr Walsh who hadn’t accepted being turned away and barred for life following an alleged incident the week before. “He got within my space,” Ross —who was described as a Strongman events organiser — said.
He claimed Mr Walsh was “in fight mode” but denied punching him in the face.
Dismissing the allegation as “a load of nonsense”, Ross said he viewed CCTV footage which supported his version of events but it had been wiped before police could view it.
He said he believed Mr Walsh had joined in a fight involving foreign nationals, who had just been ejected from the club, in the Donard car park which backs out from the nightclub.
Ross said that car park was a magnet for fighting and riotous behaviour at weekends.
He denied losing his temper and said he had developed “a thick skin” after working as a doorman for over 20 years and being a well-known figure locally because of his strongman history.
Under cross-examination, Mr Walsh denied being “regularly involved in fights” outside the nightclub, although his friend James Cunningham admitted to fighting “the odd time”.
Mr Walsh also denied attempting to ruin Ross’ reputation and later phoning the nightclub’s owner to enquire about compensation.
Ross denied being the only doorman present, saying it would be “suicidal” for only one person to be manning the door given the level of violence and fighting which regularly breaks out in Donard car park.
A colleague of Ross told the court he was also present when the incident occurred, backing up his claim that he didn’t punch Mr Walsh.
The court was told he continued working at the nightspot for a year and decided to leave due to the “constant fighting”.
Finding the father-of-two guilty, Deputy District Judge Gerry Trainor said the case came down to “a question of credibility” and he had “no hesitation” in accepting the evidence of Mr Walsh and Mr Cunningham
“I found Mr Ross evasive and completely unconvincing,” he said.
Waiving his right to a pre-sentence report, Ross was handed a six-month jail term which was suspended for two years, and was ordered to pay £500 compensation to Mr Walsh.