Ex-rugby star in court over alleged attack

Olivia Danielli arrives at Newtownards courthouse
Olivia Danielli arrives at Newtownards courthouse

A retired Scotland and Ulster rugby star allegedly kicked and punched a man he suspected was having an affair with his wife, a court heard on Tuesday.

Newtownards Magistrates’ Court heard that 37-year-old Simon Danielli, with an address at The Coaches in Holywood, assaulted his estranged wife Olivia Danielli and her friend Michael Browne on March 11, 2015.

Simon Danielli arriving at Newtownards courthouse

Simon Danielli arriving at Newtownards courthouse

According to defence QC Mark Mulholland, however, there was “nothing more than a scuffle” between the men and Mr Browne’s injuries were sustained as a result of him falling while running away from the defendant.

Mr Browne recounted how he was walking Mrs Danielli to her car after she came to visit him, when she told him “there’s Simon – run!”.

“I hesitated and Olivia said again ‘run’ so I ran towards Downshire Road but I tripped and fell over,” said Mr Browne.

He claimed that while he was face down on the ground, “I felt blows to the back of my head and body”.

As he walked back to his nearby home on Park Avenue, Mr Browne claimed he “got jumped again”.

Mr Browne went to hospital and photographs were taken of his injuries – a bloodied nose, cut lip and an abrasion to his knee.

It was suggested to him that if he had been assaulted by a man who is 6’4” and about 17 stone, there would have been more bruising – which Mr Browne rejected.

Former model Mrs Danielli, with no ring on her wedding finger, said the couple were married in 2009 but separated in 2014.

She said she had known Mr Browne as their children went to the same nursery and they used the same babysitter.

After the alleged assault she said she drove home and found her estranged husband standing in her front hall pulling wires for recording devices he had installed out of the wall.

The case continues.