Jennie Platt, 44, was rushed to the hospital where she reportedly needed three operations after receiving a vicious beating from her boyfriend

FLORENCE, ITALY: A former rugby star who died of a heart attack in an Italian hotel room was allegedly violently assaulting his girlfriend moments before his death.

Jennie Platt, a successful estate agent, ran out of her hotel room drenched in blood and screaming “help me” after her lover Ricky Bibey, 40, died from a suspected heart attack at the four-star Hotel Continentale in Florence. Platt was rushed to the hospital where she reportedly needed three operations after receiving a vicious beating from her boyfriend. Friends of the 44-year-old mother-of-two revealed how the 6ft 3in and 238 lb Bibey did not hold back while assaulting his lover after they returned to their luxury hotel in the early hours of July 16 after a night of heavy drinking in the Italian city.

According to the Daily Mail, prosecutors had to wait more than a week to talk to Jennie and get her account of what happened due to the extent of her injuries. She was discharged from the hospital only recently and will need ongoing medical care.

 

“Jennie is devastated. She is the victim of a shocking and violent attack in the hotel room at the hands of the man she had a long-term relationship with,” a family friend, who wasn’t identified, told the newspaper. “She is a strong woman who runs a successful business and is desperately trying to come to terms with what has happened to her, and Ricky’s actions before his death. She has been doing all she can to help the Italian authorities piece together what happened that night, speaking to them as a witness and as a victim of a domestic assault.”

 

“Jennie had been with Ricky for three years. They went to Florence for what was supposed to be a health break at a spa,” the friend continued. “Ricky had suffered mental health issues in recent times and experienced a serious downturn in the last six months. He had been in and out of various centers, and this trip was to try and get him back on track – but it ended in tragedy. They had gone out for the evening and enjoyed being in Florence, which as everyone knows is a beautiful city, taking in the famous sights such as the Ponte Vecchio and Michelangelo’s David.”

 

“It will be difficult for people to hear as Ricky was well-liked and respected in the rugby league fraternity, but Jennie is lucky to be with us after the attack,” the friend insisted. “She is seeking answers and hopes the official investigation will provide those. She has suffered several serious injuries, including one to her eye socket which is very worrying. She is in a wheelchair currently as she recovers from the assault. She was discharged from the hospital some days ago and has been staying in a different part of the city. Although traveling home gives some logistical challenges, it is felt being at home is the best place for her. Her family are in the northwest and she has many friends who will be supporting her during her recovery.” The friend added, “Jennie is a strong individual who will get through this with the support of her loved ones but will need to take it one day at a time.”

 

Bibey played at prop for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats before his career was cut short by injury. He went professional in 2001 and made appearances for Wigan Warriors, Leigh Centurions, and St Helens. He also played three times for England before an Achilles problem ended his career in 2012. An autopsy showed the former athlete died of a heart attack. While toxicology reports are yet to be revealed, police said he had consumed a combination of cocaine and alcohol that resulted in his death.

Both Platt and Bibey worked as estate agents. The former has her own business called Jennie Platt Sales and Lettings, and even featured in a BBC documentary called ‘Mantopia’ about the property business located in north west England. Platt also grabbed local headlines in 2013 when she was tasked with marketing the luxury flat of Manchester United ace Phil Neville for £15,000 (~$18,300) a week.

Jennie’s lawyer Stefano Goldstein told the Daily Mail, “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.” The lawyer added, “Jennie has explained to the police that the night Ricky died he was completely out of control and that he had attacked her. She has been discharged from hospital but is still in Italy as she needs a specialist medical flight to repatriate her back home where hopefully she can try and rebuild her life.”

Meanwhile, a law enforcement source told the newspaper, “We were not able to speak to the woman for more than a week because of her injuries but when we did we were able to build up a clearer picture of what happened that night between them and it’s clear she was the victim of a violent attack. The autopsy has shown that Ricky Bibey died from a heart attack and we are awaiting the final toxicology results but we know he had taken cocaine and alcohol in the hours leading up to his death.”

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