Former teen beauty king found guilty of ugly assault against past Trinity student

A former Trinity College Dublin student has been awarded €10,500 for injuries she was given by a nightclub bouncer in April 2006. Judge Jacqueline Linnane ruled that Grace O’Connell was assaulted by bouncer Nicholas Toppin, a former Mr. Teen Ireland. The assault took place at CrawDaddy nightclub on Dublin’s Harcourt Street.

The ruling on 19th October granted the sum to Ms. O’Connell, of Alcantra, Ballinacurra, Limerick, for injuries to her arms and back as well as distress caused by the assault.

Judge Linnane accepted that Toppin punched, grabbed and dragged Ms. O’Connell on the night of the assault. Ms. O’Connell’s physical injuries cleared up in a matter of weeks but she continued to suffer from mental trauma and experienced flashbacks for months afterwards. She also developed a fear around bouncers.

Ms. O’Connell told her barrister, Peter Clein, that she had a glass of wine at a friend’s house before going to the CrawDaddy nightclub. She told the court that on arrival at the nightclub she went to the foyer to speak to her father on her phone because she could hear him better there. It was in the foyer that the assault took place.

Ms. O’Connell described to the court how Toppin did not speak to her, but instead punched her on the shoulder and dragged her out of the club, through a courtyard and up steps, before throwing her against a fence.

Toppin denied that he had assaulted Ms. O’Connell, saying that he removed her as she had either been drunk or under the influence of drugs. However, his defence was unsuccessful.

Judge Linnane said in the Circuit Civil Court that the club owners, Pod Entertainment Ltd, were jointly liable to Ms. O’Connell but also entitled to full indemnity from the bouncer, Nicolas Toppin, and his former employers, Quarry Imports Ltd, which trades as Security Solutions, Dunleer, County Louth.