Rugby League star says punch that broke his wife’s eye socket was ‘self defence’

A rugby league star said he punched his then-wife in the face as he feared she would run him over, a court heard.

Anthony Gelling, 30, who plays for Leigh Centurians, said he was trying to stop Toni Mackey as she was reversing in the vehicle.

Jurors heard the punch broke bones in her nose and eye socket, the Liverpool Echo reports.

Liverpool Crown Court heard she was also left with a black eye and a cut over her right eyebrow from the alleged assault on February 6 last year.

Miss Mackey said he punched her after she refused to let him get their baby’s pram out of the boot of their Hyundai 4 wheel drive.

She claims he had taken his “angry pills” – magnesium and zinc tablets – the night before.

Gelling, a New Zealander who previously played for Warrington Wolves, said he regularly took them.

After making him feel weird he called them his angry pills, but they didn't actually make him angry.

He said he has plates inserted in his hands and he started taking them to help with cramp and joint pains.

Gelling said on the day she “wasn’t happy with me, I think because I didn’t want to go and eat breakfast with her”.

He said she later went out to get lunch and told him it was "none of your f****** business” when she would return.

Gelling said he went to get the pram out to collect her daughter from school, but Miss Mackey got in the car.

He told the court on Friday: “She was already angry. She said ‘yes, like I’m going to forget to get my f****** daughter.’”

Gelling said she started to reverse slowly, adding: “I took a couple of steps back and when she kept reversing I moved to the side by the garage.

“I tapped on the rear window and told her to stop.”

He said he opened the driver’s door to push a button which opens the boot.

Gelling said it “was a stupid decision”, adding: “I should just have stayed out of the way.”

He said the car door touched the garage door and as he opened it she was still reversing and sped up.

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Gelling added: “The car lurched backwards and got my right leg knocking me off balance.

"I hopped onto my left leg and put my foot out and yelled, ‘Stop.’

“I just panicked, there was a lot of adrenaline. I punched her.

"I just wanted to stop the car. I thought I was going to be run over.”

He denied wanting to hurt her, adding: “I wasn’t angry at the time.

"I was angry after the incident and angry at myself.”

He said he offered to get her an ambulance or take her to the doctors but she did not want to go.

Gelling added: “When I saw her face I was shocked. I said, ‘I’m sorry’.”

The court heard she later got a taxi to hospital after he returned from a rugby match against St Helens and her injuries were discovered.

Gelling, of Widnes, Cheshire, denies inflicting grievous bodily harm.

The trial continues.

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