FORMER Widnes Vikings star Anthony Gelling took ‘angry pills’ before punching his wife in the face and leaving her with broken bones, a court has heard.

The 30-year-old rugby player has gone on trial today, Thursday, accused of inflicting grievous bodily harm on his ex-partner Toni Mackey.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that a domestic incident erupted between the pair at their home on Cronton Lane Mews in Widnes before he was due to feature in Warrington Wolves' Super League game with St Helens on February 6 last year.

Prosecution barrister Kevin Slack told the jury that 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 that they go out for breakfast, but Gelling – who now plays for Leigh Centurions – wanted her to go to the gym to ‘earn her breakfast’.

Upon the insistence of the 6ft5 centre, she went to the gym ‘to keep him happy’ but did not go inside and instead spent an hour in the car park on the phone to her friends.

After returning to the house, she accused the New Zealand-born Cook Islands international of ‘trying to control her’.

Jurors were told that he was often ‘full on and intense’ on a matchday due to magnesium and zinc supplements which he took to ease joint pain, tablets which he had previously described as his angry pills.

Later, she got back in the car to drive to Nando’s in order to get food.

But Gelling followed her out of the house, stating that he needed to retrieve a pram from the boot of the vehicle so that he could walk their baby to collect Ms Mackey’s older daughter from school at home time.

Ms Mackey said that she would pick the child up from school and began to reverse out of the driveway.

However, he then went to the rear of the Hyundai and unsuccessfully attempted to access the boot before opening the driver’s side door, punching his wife once in the face, removing the keys from the ignition and throwing 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’.

She later described having felt a ‘massive impact’ to the right side of her face as a result of the blow.

Gelling was told not to return home after the fixture and he checked into the nearby Hillcrest Hotel for the night.

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

Mr Slack told the panel of six men and six women: “This was an unprovoked assault which inflicted grievous bodily harm on Ms Mackey.

“The defendant accepts that he punched her but maintains that he did so in self-defence, fearing that he was about to get run over or injured as Ms Mackey reversed the car.”

He added: “Rather than back away when he couldn’t get into the boot, the defendant went to open the car door – which the prosecution say was itself an aggressive act.

“Then, having opened the car door, it wasn’t a reasonable use of force to punch Ms Mackey in the face even if the defendant wanted her to stop the car.

“Quite simply, it was an act of aggression from a man who had lost his cool because his wife was not doing what he wanted her to do.”

Gelling – who is defended in court by Martine Snowdon – turned out for Widnes during the 2019 season before leaving for Warrington, having also played for Wigan Warriors and New Zealand Warriors during his career.

He wore a grey suit, a light blue shirt and a navy tie in the dock, as well as a black face mask.

Ms Mackey has since returned to New Zealand, and gave evidence to the court through a video link from her home country this afternoon.

She alleged that Gelling had subsequently attempted to ‘blackmail’ her to have the charges dropped, offering her £60,000 via a text message and saying that the money would otherwise be going towards his defence lawyers.

Speaking from the virtual witness box between 1.30am and after 3am local time, she of the pills: “He mentioned that the day before, because he felt angry at captain’s run.

“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.

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, before judge Garrett Byrne, continues.