Ex-England footballer Tony Dorigo headbutted by jealous love rival after girlfriend left him for Leeds United legend

FORMER Leeds United ace Tony Dorigo was headbutted in a vicious attack by his girlfriend’s ex-partner.

Senior NHS boss Gareth Senior launched the brutal assault in an upmarket Leeds store after he spotted the footie star who also played for England with Claire Joss.

Tony Dorigo was attacked while he was shopping in a Leeds store with Claire Joss
SWNS:South West News Service

The IT manager started an 18-month relationship with Claire Joss in April 2016 after meeting her at work.

But the relationship deteriorated after Senior introduced her to Dorigo, 52, who made 171 appearances for the Leeds club between 1991 and 1997, at a music festival in Manchester.

They broke up shortly before Christmas last year and Senior became suspicious that she had been seeing the former defender, who also had a lengthy spell at Chelsea after friends had told him.

He spiralled into a fit of rage when those suspicions were confirmed after spotting the pair in the Victoria Gate store in Leeds, West Yorks – two months after the split.

Gareth Senior avoided jail
SWNS:South West News Service

He shoved his love rival into a towel display at The White Company before headbutting him in the face on February 6 this year, a court heard.

Senior, who is currently based at Quarry House in Leeds which is home to an NHS HQ, admitted pushing Mr Dorigo when he gave evidence but denied the headbutt.

He had offered to plead guilty to a lesser charge of common assault at earlier hearing but it was rejected by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Senior now faces losing his job after being convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm at Leeds Magistrates’ on Tuesday.

Former Leeds star Mr Dorigo described how his love rival could have broken his nose if he had not managed to back away as he was headbutted.

The former Leeds star made 171 appearances for the club
SWNS:South West News Service

Giving evidence, Mr Dorigo confirmed that he had met Senior on two occasions before the attack.

He said he had met him for the first time at the music event in Manchester and had seen him on a second occasion during a dinner he was giving a speech at the Queens Hotel.

Describing the assault, Mr Dorigo said: “I was looking at the towels at the back of the shop. The next thing I heard some shouting from behind.

“I didn’t realise what was going on and I felt an excessive shove from behind.”

Mr Dorigo described how he fell forward about four or five feet after being shoved in the back by Senior.

He described how Senior then headbutted him to the face.

Dorigo also made 17 appearances for England during his career
SWNS:South West News Service

He added: “He was swearing and saying all sorts of things at this stage. I didn’t really catch it all.

“He just headbutted me. I didn’t really know what was going on and at that point it was all a bit of a shock.

“He caught me on my nose and top of the lip. I thought there was a bit of blood inside my lip.

“I managed to move back or else my nose would have been broken.”

Deputy District Judge Paul Currer said: “I am very sorry to see a man of your previous good character and good standing coming before the court in circumstances such as this.

“This represents something of a personal crisis that you went through in the last couple of years.”

Senior, of Churwell, avoided jail but was fined £500 and ordered to pay £100 compensation to Mr Dorigo, plus £300 court costs.

Mr Dorigo was capped for England 15 times and also played for Aston Villa, Chelsea, Torino, Derby County and Stoke City.

He watched from the bench as England were knocked out at the heartbreaking Italia ’90 semi-final shootout loss to West Germany in Turin.


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