Teenager jailed for 3 years and 8 months following random attack on Perth soccer player Danny Hodgson

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Teenager jailed for 3 years and 8 months following random attack on Perth soccer player Danny Hodgson


The teenager who left soccer player Danny Hodgson fighting for life has been sentenced to three years and eight months in juvenile detention for what a judge described as “seven months of mayhem”‘ that included violent assaults on other strangers. 

Today the Perth Children’s Court heard the 17-year-old was on bail and meant to be subject to a 24-hour curfew when he punched Mr Hodgson without warning near the city train station in the early hours of September 5 last year.

The punch rendered Mr Hodgson unconscious, causing him to fall backwards and hit his head on the ground, causing a severe traumatic brain injury. 

At the time of the attack, the court heard the teenager was on bail, which he repeatedly breached, for 23 charges relating to 13 separate incidents in the seven months prior to the attack. 

The teenager will have to serve 22 months behind bars before he can be considered for early release. 

The President of the Children’s Court, Hylton Quail, described the teenager’s crime spree as “seven months of mayhem”, saying he was “completely out of control”.

“You went from a young fella in (regional WA) who’s never been in trouble to coming down to Perth … and very quickly becoming involved in a series of increasingly violent offences,” Judge Quail told the teenager.

Judge Quail said it was concerning the teenager was on bail for as long as he was, saying if the other charges had been dealt with earlier, his behavioural issues might have been addressed sooner.

The court heard Mr Hodgson posed no threat to the teenager who punched him. (Supplied)

He described the attack on Mr Hodgson as “cowardly”, saying at the time he threw the punch, Mr Hodgson was moving away from him and posing no threat.

“Your cowardice continued because you ran away,” he said.

Teen had history of attacking adult males, court hears

The offences included the teenager randomly punching men who were not known to him and thefts from bottle shops. 

State Prosecutor Brad Hollingsworth said the violent offences showed the teenager had “a propensity for unprovoked” attacks on adult males.  

The court also heard that despite being arrested around the time of the incidents, he was repeatedly released on bail because juveniles have what was described in court as a qualified right to bail.

Following the attack, Mr Hodgson spent three months in the intensive care unit, including his 26th birthday, with Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo among those sending get well video messages to him.

Two men on a soccer field, one with his back to the camera, shake hands.
Danny Hodgson starred for ECU Joondalup after playing soccer at a high level in the UK.(Facebook)

In the days following the attack, Mr Hodgson’s parents were granted a travel exemption to come to Perth from the UK.

Parents told to prepare for the worst

Mr Hollingsworth said during Mr Hodgson’s time in ICU, he suffered repeated complications and his family was told it was highly likely he would die.

One doctor said he had never seen anyone survive the amount of cranial bleeding Mr Hodgson had.

Mr Hollingsworth said recent doctors’ reports stated Mr Hodgson was likely to have long-term disabilities, which would impact on his independence.

“The deficits he’s been left with are extremely serious and may well be permanent.”

Mr Hodgson was finally moved out of the ICU in November and transferred to Fiona Stanley Hospital for rehabilitation that included him learning to swallow, drink and eat again.

After playing soccer at a high level prior to the attack, video footage of Mr Hodgson’s rehabilitation showed he was having to learn how to walk again. 

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Danny Hodgson is undergoing rehabilitation after spending almost three months in intensive care.

Playing for ECU Joondalup in the WA National Premier League, Mr Hodgson took out the 2020 Football West Golden Boot award.

He had been celebrating the final game of the season with teammates and was affected by alcohol when the teenager came across him. 

There was an outpouring of public support for Mr Hodgson in the weeks following the attack, with his teammates from ECU Joondalup lining the streets as pipe bands played for his parents outside their quarantine hotel in Perth. 

Suppliers and traders also came together to gift Danny and his girlfriend Jess a solar energy system, ducted air-conditioning to help him with his recovery. 



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