Could have represented NI at ‘World Cup’ level

Ballymena Court.
Ballymena Court.

A footballer with 115 convictions whose offending meant he missed out on representing Northern Ireland in the ‘World Cup’, has been jailed for five months.

David Given Surgenor (22), of the Lighthouse hostel at Linenhall Street, Ballymena, had been on the verge of representing Northern Ireland in the ‘Homeless World Cup’ which uses football to inspire homeless people to change their lives.

However, Surgenor failed to make the team which came 13th out of 44 in Glasgow during the summertime as a result of his drinking and re-offending.

In August, Surgenor was given a suspended jail term after he phoned the police and invited them to come to Ahoghill for a “stand-off” when he falsely claimed to have a sawn-off shotgun and a 9mm gun.

Surgenor said he would “blow them away” and shouted “Up the UDA”.

When police arrived, Surgenor resisted arrest and damaged a police vehicle.

He pleaded guilty to several charges including sending messages of a “menacing character” via a phone.

Within weeks he re-offended when he obstructed a road in Ballymena with a roadworks safety barrier; was disorderly and resisted a police officer.

In relation to those offences Surgenor avoided being fitted with an electronic tag after he told a court the device would impact on playing football.

Surgenor was back in trouble again on September 1 when he assaulted a man, assaulted a policewoman and caused criminal damage to a police cell van.

After officers heard the sound of “running water” they noticed Surgenor had urinated which left a £170 clean-up bill.

Defence barrister Andrew Moriarty said the defendant, who appeared at the court via videolink from Maghaberry, had been looking forward to representing Northern Ireland in the football event.

However, he said “the old demons surfaced and they pulled him back into the abyss.”

The barrister added: “What could have been a promising soccer career never materialised and unfortunately never will”.

Jailing Surgenor for five months, District Judge Peter King said the defendant had potential but he also was a persistent offender with 115 convictions and he had a duty to protect the public.