England rugby star Danny Cipriani has apologised to the police after injuring a female officer as he resisted arrest following a row at a Jersey bar.
The 30-year-old tore off bouncer Joaquim Perreira’s tie then grappled with officers as they tried to detain him at the Royal Yacht Hotel in St Helier early on Wednesday.
A policewoman, named in reports as former Welsh international footballer Jodie Botterill, suffered bruising after fly-half Cipriani tried to break free from his handcuffs.
He was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £250 compensation at Jersey Magistrates’ Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to resisting arrest and common assault. Charges of larceny and being disorderly on licensed premises were dropped.
Following the sentence, Cipriani issued a “heartfelt apology” in a statement to “my club, teammates, supporters and most importantly the police”.
“They have a tough and vital job and I’m mortified that, earlier this week, I acted in a way that I hugely regret. I am truly sorry,” he said.
“I was wrong to argue with a bouncer, and pull on his camera tie. I was also wrong to resist arrest.”
Cipriani, who has recently fought his way back into the England squad, was on a team night out with his club Gloucester when a doorman stopped him from walking out of the bar with two drinks.
The incident occurred at the Pomme D’Or (Yui Mok/PA)
Prosecutor Samantha Morris described how he turned on bouncer Mr Perreira and tore off his tie.
“He was physically aggressive towards the doorman, so the doorman activated his bodyworn camera,” she said.
The court heard this enraged Cipriani, who grabbed hold of Mr Perreira’s tie, pulling it off along with the camera.
The doorman told police he wanted to make a formal complaint of assault and she went to arrest Cipriani outside the nearby Pomme D’Or Hotel.
Ms Morris said he “refused to understand why he was being arrested” and “tensed up”, refusing to put his arms behind his back.
Danny Cipriani leaves Jersey Magistrates’ Court (Yui Mok/PA)
He had one hand in a handcuff but broke his other arm free, pushed towards the female officer and grabbed hold of her shirt, the court heard.
The policewoman sustained bruising to her right bicep and reddening to her chest, Ms Morris said.
He was eventually restrained by other officers who arrived on the scene but was still struggling when he was put in the police van.
In a statement released on Thursday afternoon, Cipriani said: “I didn’t strike anyone or initiate aggression in any way.”
He added: “I was initially confused as to why I was being arrested by three officers.
Danny Cipriani in action for England (Paul Harding/PA)
“This led me to react in the wrong manner for a matter of seconds, seeking to hold off the police officers rather than accepting their decision.”
Mike Preston, defending, said Cipriani suffered “extreme embarrassment and knows he has let himself, his family and his club down”.
“He candidly admits he had too much to drink,” the lawyer told the court.
He said when Cipriani took the drinks outside he thought he was taking them into an outside drinking area and did not realise he was leaving the premises.
“The bouncer prevented him from leaving. He took exception to the doorman’s attitude and particularly when the doorman activated his bodyworn camera,” he said.
“He is more sensitive to such actions given his celebrity than you or I might be.”
Sentencing Cipriani, magistrate Sarah Fitz said the police do a difficult job and must be protected.
She told the sportsman: “This is one incident that started off in a minor way. You have pleaded guilty on this first occasion and it can be dealt with by way of a fine.”
Cipriani, who spoke quietly when asked to confirm his name and age in court, spent two nights in police cells following his arrest.
Wearing an open-necked checked shirt, he kept his head down as he emerged from court, ignoring reporters’ questions before getting into a waiting car.
Gloucester Rugby chief executive Stephen Vaughan described the incident as “very disappointing to be associated with” but said the club was standing by the player.
He said: “The incident in question was over in a matter of seconds and was a reaction to the conduct of other parties involved.”
Cipriani “knows his responsibilities and is aware of the impact of this type of incident on the club”, he continued.
“However, Danny is a Gloucester Rugby player and will receive our full support as we focus on the exciting season ahead.”
Cipriani was on the island with his club during a pre-season tour, including a training session with the Jersey Reds team.
The nightclub fracas happened hours after England cricketer Ben Stokes was cleared of affray following a brawl outside a Bristol nightclub.
The 27-year-old was recalled to England’s Test squad after he was acquitted by a jury on Tuesday.
Cipriani has been in trouble before.
He was convicted of drink-driving after he crashed his black Mercedes into a taxi in London on June 1 2015.
Cipriani was ordered to pay £7,620 in fines and costs and banned from driving for 18 months.
In 2013, he was treated in hospital after being hit by a bus during a night out in Leeds.