Former Wigan Warrior Anthony Gelling punched wife in the face, trial hears
A “controlling” Rugby league star punched his then-wife in the face smashing her nose and cheekbone as she sat in their car.
Anthony Gelling, who played for Warriors between 2012-2017 but was a Warrington Wolves player at the time of the offence, admits assaulting Tony Mackey but claims he was acting in self-defence.
Liverpool Crown Court heard today (Thur) that 30-year-old Gelling, who had taken “angry pills”, attacked Miss Mackey after she refused to let him get a pram from the boot and was slowly reversing their Hyundai 4 wheel drive vehicle down a narrow space near their home.
“It was an act of aggression from a man who had lost his cool because his wife was not doing as he wanted,” claimed Kevin Slack, prosecuting.
He told the jury: “The prosecution say you can be sure he was not acting in self defence when he punched Miss Mackey.”
She told how Gelling, who now plays for Leigh Centurions, could be “very full on and tense on match days” and “tried to control her.”
He had a match due later that day and had taken magnesium and zinc tablets, which he called his “angry pills” because of the way they make him feel. He took them for joint pains the day before games.
“Usually he is calm and funny but that night I noticed he was angry and the next day.”
Gelling, of Cronton Lane Mews, Widnes, has pleaded not guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm.
The victim’s video recorded police interview was played to the court in which she told how on the morning of February 6 last year she wanted them to go and get breakfast together but he told her she had to earn it by going to the gym.
She had been there three times that week and did not want to go and instead wanted to get pancakes but eventually she changed into her gym gear and went. But she said she just sat in the car park for an hour talking to a friend on the phone.
When she returned she told him she was going to Nando’s as he had already made himself lunch and he asked if he needed to get the pram to take the baby to collect her daughter from school.
She said: “I told him no and I left and got into the car and started reversing. He followed me out saying ‘give me the pram’. I felt like he thought I wasn’t capable of making my own choices. I told him, ‘You don’t need the pram,”.
“I started reversing slowly just to send him a message ‘I’m leaving, move out of the way’. He got out of the way, I was looking over my left shoulder.”
She said that there was a button inside the car to open the boot and Gelling opened the driver’s door and she heard it hit an adjacent garage door.
“He said, ‘stop stop’ and as I turned that is when I got hit," Miss Mackey said.
“I felt a massive pain to my face and it left my dazed…he hit me with force.”
Asked how hard he had hit her she replied: “Hard enough to crack my tooth on the other side. There were so many other options he could have made but he chose to do this.”
She claimed that after punching her - breaking her nose and right cheekbone and chipping a tooth - he allegedly took the ignition keys out and threw them at her saying: “Ring the police and report me, I don’t give a ****.”
While still sitting in the car she took a photograph of her injuries and shortly afterwards he came out and said: “Oh my God. I am so sorry, shall I ring an ambulance?”
She declined the offer and asked Gelling to get her daughter from primary school and not to come back after his match that evening. He came back however and in the early hours of the morning she asked him to mind the children while she got a taxi to Whiston hospital.
She decided against reporting him to the police while at the hospital as she was still dazed and trying to process what had happened but the next day she made a formal complaint.
Gelling, a Cook Islands International player, accepted when interviewed by police on February 9 that he had punched her.
He described it as being like a quick jab rather than his hardest punch but maintained he had only done it to stop the car, to prevent himself from getting injured.
He said he had opened the door to press the boot release button. She kept reversing and although he told her to stop she did not and in fact sped up.
“He said he punched her to get her to stop the car to avoid any injury to himself by being run over and claimed he was acting in self-defence,” said Mr Slack.
Miss Mackey, a qualified nurse, told how she had known Gelling for eight years and they had been married for about 18 months. She has since returned to New Zealand with the children and was questioned this afternoon from that country by video link, despite the 11 hour time difference.
She told how she received a social media message from him last summer saying: “There’s £60,000, it can go towards a house for you and the kids or it can go to legal services.”
Asked about this she said he felt this was blackmail.
The case continues.
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