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Welsh rugby star guilty of attack on ex in front of child

Welsh international rugby star Ian Gough has been ordered to pay £2,130 (€2,679) in fines and costs after attacking his beauty queen ex-girlfriend just days after she got engaged to pop star Dane Bowers.

The 37-year-old player grabbed and pushed former Miss Wales Sophia Cahill against his van as he dropped their two-year-old son Gabriel off at her house on January 5.

Miss Cahill said she was so shaken up by the attack that she fled in tears back to the south London home she shares with 1990s singer Bowers, to whom she got engaged over the Christmas break.


She did not attend Gough's sentencing at Croydon Magistrates' Court in south London today but a victim impact statement read out on her behalf said she has suffered from anxiety and panic attacks since the incident.

Prosecutor Christian Wheeliker said the medication she must take for them means that she is unable to drive, affecting her work as a TV presenter.

Miss Cahill also complained of becoming the target of harassment by Gough's family and the victim of allegations on social media.

Mr Wheeliker said that, as a professional rugby player, Gough - who split up with Miss Cahill in 2011, when she was pregnant with their son - was "by definition a powerful and strong man".

Miss Cahill, in contrast, was "by all accounts a small lady".

But Mark Haslam, defending Newport Gwent Dragons player Gough, contested Miss Cahill's claim that she cannot drive, saying she had been spotted behind the wheel of her white Jeep in Swansea on Tuesday.

He described the assault as "one isolated incident" which happened during one of many meetings between the former couple as they picked up or dropped off their son.

Mr Haslam said a "breakdown in communication" had led to a series of acrimonious phone calls between the pair that evening as Gough was late dropping the toddler off and the defendant reacted when Miss Cahill went to get the child out of his van because he liked to do this as part of his "ritual".

"He is a loving father and on this occasion all he was trying to achieve was his normal way of saying goodbye to his son as he handed him over," Mr Haslam said.

"It is perfectly clear the physical contact was very limited and over a very short space of time."


He reiterated that Miss Cahill suffered no signs of physical injury from the attack and Gough was of previous good character with no convictions or cautions.

Ms Haslam said that Gough, who was found guilty of assault after a short trial at the court last month, is appealing against the conviction.

Mr Haslam also said that, as a professional sportsman, the "humiliation" Gough has suffered as a result of the publicity surrounding the case has been punishment already.

Sentencing him, chairwoman of the bench Cheryl Southern-Petty said no statutory aggravating factor had been found and there was no evidence of premeditation.

"We find that a child was present, which increases the seriousness but this was an isolated incident." She added that Gough was of "excellent character".