Friday 20 October 2017

Ulster rugby star filmed attack on ex-wife's 'new partner' after bugging her home to catch them together, court hears

Simon Danielli
Simon Danielli

Paul Higgins

Retired rugby star Simon Danielli kicked and punched a man he suspected was having an affair with his estranged wife, a court heard yesterday.

The 37-year-old, with an address at The Coaches in Holywood in Down, is on trial accused of assaulting Olivia Danielli and her friend, Michael Browne, and damaging his wife's mobile phone on March 11, 2015.

It is the Crown's case that Mr Danielli chased after and attacked Mr Browne in the middle of the street, threw his wife's mobile phone away and pushed her to the ground.

But according to defence QC Mark Mulholland, there was "nothing more than a scuffle" between the men. Mr Mulholland also claimed Mr Browne sustained his injuries after falling while running away from the defendant and called allegations of assault "a fabrication".

Mrs Danielli told Newtownards Magistrates Court' the couple were married in 2009, but separated in September 2014, six months before the incident.

She explained to prosecutor Joseph Murphy she knew Mr Browne because their children went to the same nursery and they used the same babysitter.

Olivia Jane Danielli and Simon Danielli
Olivia Jane Danielli and Simon Danielli

Mrs Danielli said she had visited Mr Browne on the day of the incident. She alleged he was walking her to her car when she saw her estranged husband and said: "There's Simon, run."

She told the court she was "shocked" to see her husband, who allegedly chased after the other man, got on top of him and kicked and punched him "on the back and in the head".

Mrs Danielli claimed her estranged husband filmed the incident on his phone, adding that when she took hers out, he grabbed it and threw it away, smashing the screen.

It was alleged that when she went to help Mr Browne, the defendant attacked him again, punching him and pinning him to the wall.

Mrs Danielli said she went to help her friend, but her estranged husband grabbed her and threw her to the floor.

After the incident was over and having made sure Mr Browne was okay, she drove to her house because she "had a feeling" the defendant would go there.

When she arrived, she claimed Danielli was standing in her front hall, "pulling wires" from objects she claimed were recording devices.

"Simon used to record me in my house and my car," Mrs Danielli told the court.

Despite being told to leave, Danielli is alleged to have ignored his wife before pushing her out of the way to get into the bedroom as the babysitter attempted to calm them down.

"He then went downstairs and tried to exit the house through the garage," Mrs Danielli said.

The police then arrived and arrested the retired rugby player.

Earlier, Mr Browne told the court he tripped and fell while running away from the defendant. He added that while face down on the ground, he "felt blows to the back of my head and body".

Under cross-examination by Mr Mulholland, it was suggested to Mr Browne that if he had been assaulted in the way he alleged by a man who is 6ft 4ins and about 17 stone, there would have been documented defence injuries and more bruising, especially as he conceded injuring his knee in the fall.

It was also suggested that what actually happened was "no more than a scuffle, described as handbags" between the men.

The case continues.

Belfast Telegraph

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