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Rugby star ‘fractured wife’s eye socket with punch’ after taking ‘angry pills’

A rugby league star left his wife with a broken eye socket and facial injuries after taking “angry pills” and punching her, a court heard.

Anthony Gelling, 30, is on trial accused of inflicting grievous bodily harm on his ex-partner Toni Mackey.

Liverpool crown court heard on Thursday a domestic incident erupted between the 6ft 5ins athlete and his ex-wife at their home shortly before a Super League match in February last year.

Gelling, a Warrington Wolves player at the time, is accused of attacking Ms Mackey after she refused to let him get a pram from the boot and was reversing their car down a narrow space near their home.

The complaint, who accuses the defendant of gaslighting and attempting to blackmail her, suffered a broken nose, fractured eye socket and a chipped tooth in the alleged attack, it was said.

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A court heard that Gelling took magnesium and zinc tablets, which he called “angry pills”

Prosecutor Kevin Slack described New Zealand-born Gelling’s actions as an “act of aggression from a man who had lost his cool because his wife was not doing as he wanted.”

Ms Mackey said Gelling, who now plays for Leigh Centurions, could be “very full-on and intense” and “tried to control her”.

Warring Wolves were due to play St Helens later that day, February 6, and the defendant had taken magnesium and zinc tablets, it was heard.

He called them his “angry pills” because of the way they made him feel, the court was told, and he took them for joint pains the day before games.

Mr Slack told the jury the couple, who had been in a relationship for around three years, had “not been getting on well” on the morning of the alleged assault.

Ms Mackey suggested they go out for breakfast but Gelling wanted her to go to the gym to “earn her breakfast”, it was heard.

After returning to the house, in Widnes, Cheshire, she accused the Cook Islands international of “trying to control her”, the court was told.

Later, she got back in the car to drive to Nando’s in order to get food, Mr Slack said, but Gelling followed her out of the house.

Liverpool crown court
The case is being heard at Liverpool crown court

He said he needed to retrieve a pram from the boot so he could walk their baby to collect Ms Mackey’s older daughter from school at home time.

Ms Mackey said she would pick the child up from school and began to reverse out of the driveway, it was heard.

However, he then went to the rear of the Hyundai and unsuccessfully attempted to access the boot before opening the driver’s side door.

In doing this, it was heard, he punched his wife once in the face, removed the keys from the ignition and threw them at her.

He said “ring the police and report me, I don’t give a s***” before returning inside with the pram as she remained in the car in “shock and distress”, it was heard.

She later described having felt a “massive impact” to the right side of her face as a result of the blow, the court was told.

Gelling was told not to return home after the game that day, which his team won 19-0, and he checked into the nearby Hillcrest Hotel for the night, it was heard.

Rugby star 'fractured wife's eye socket with punch' after taking 'angry pills'

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Ms Mackey attended Whiston Hospital in the early hours of February 7, 2020, due to the pain she was experiencing and found to have broken her nose, fractured an eye socket and suffered a chipped tooth.

She reported the incident to Cheshire Police the following day, and Gelling was arrested on February 9 after voluntarily attending a police station.

Ms Mackey has since returned to New Zealand, and gave evidence to the court through a video link.

She alleged Gelling had subsequently attempted to blackmail her to have the charges dropped, offering her £60,000 via a text message.

Speaking from the virtual witness box about the pills, she said: “He said it causes a funny reaction in him and makes him feel angry.

“I said ‘you need to stop taking your angry pills if they make you that angry’ – he was referring to being at training and not feeling sociable, or feeling angry at his teammates.”

Ms Mackey also accused her former partner of gaslighting her when she was suffering from depression in the months before the incident, having struggled to adapt to life in the north west.

Anthony Gelling for Leigh Centurions
Gelling’s ex-partner has accused him of “trying to control her”

She said: “I think the gaslighting and undermining just got worse, I felt crazy in that relationship.

“I just felt hurt, manipulated and gaslighted – he used my depression as an excuse to belittle me.”

The trial continues.



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