Italy: Rugby star died ‘after heart attack while beating up girlfriend’

Ricky Bibey, 40, and Jennie Platt, 44, had been dating for three years before the incident in Florence

A former British Rugby League player ‘viciously beat up’ his girlfriend of three years just moments before his death at a four-star hotel in Italy.

Ricky Bibey, 40, and Jennie Platt, 44, had been staying at the Hotel Continentale in Florence for a spa break last month when terrifying screams were heard coming from their luxury room.

Italian police found blood near the player’s body, and it was reported his partner was taken to the Careggi hospital for treatment.

Friends of the mum-of-two have now said her boyfriend subjected her to a ‘shocking and violent’ assault, and that she is ‘lucky’ to still be alive.

Prosecutors investigating the attack in the early hours of July 16 had to wait more than a week to talk to Jennie due to the extent of her injuries.

Her lawyer Stefano Goldstein told MailOnline: ‘My client Jennie was the victim of terrible assault and needed several operations during a lengthy stay in hospital.

‘She has cooperated fully with the authorities who are investigating the matter and we expect the case to be closed within the next few days but for Jennie the trauma of what happened will not end as she will need medical care in England. 

Jennie Platt and Ricky Bibey

The couple had travelled to Italy for a spa break
The estate agent from Manchester was found covered in blood and screaming for help
Mr Bibey had played for Wigan Warriors, St Helens, Leigh and Wakefield Trinity (Picture: Shutterstock)
Emergency services outside the hotel in Florence, Italy
CCTV grabs from the night of the incident show Jennie near the hotel

‘Jennie has explained to the police that the night Ricky died he was completely out of control and that he had attacked her.’

He confirmed his client has been discharged from hospital, but is still in Italy while she awaits a specialist medical flight to get her back home.

According to friends, Jennie is now ‘desperately’ trying to come to terms with her partner’s actions before his death.

They said the estate agent from Manchester suffered ‘several serious injuries’, including one to her eye socket, and is currently in a wheelchair.

‘Ricky had suffered mental health issues in recent times and experienced a serious downturn in the last six months,’ a family friend added.

‘He had been in and out of various centres, and this trip was to try and get him back on track – but it ended in tragedy.’

Although toxicology results are yet to be confirmed, police say the rugby star had taken cocaine and alcohol which triggered his death.

A post-mortem examination confirmed he died from a heart attack.

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