Cipriani: “I acted in a way that I hugely regret. I am truly sorry”

England rugby player Danny Cipriani leaves Jersey Magistrates' Court, Saint Helier, where he pleaded guilty to charges of common assault and resisting arrest following an incident in a nightclub on the island. PICTURE: Yui Mok/PA Wire
England rugby player Danny Cipriani leaves Jersey Magistrates' Court, Saint Helier, where he pleaded guilty to charges of common assault and resisting arrest following an incident in a nightclub on the island. PICTURE: Yui Mok/PA Wire
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England rugby star Danny Cipriani said he was “mortified” after pleading guilty to an assault at a Jersey bar.

The 30-year-old grappled with police after rowing with a doorman at the Royal Yacht Hotel in St Helier on Wednesday.

A female officer suffered bruising after he 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.

After the hearing, Cipriani released a statement saying: “I want to start with a heartfelt apology.

“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.

“I would also like to put on record the words of the Magistrate Sarah Fitz who publicly stated that ‘it was a minor incident’ and ‘a fine is more than sufficient’.

“I was wrong to argue with a bouncer, and pull on his camera tie. I was also wrong to resist arrest.

“This is why I pleaded guilty to these two charges and all other charges were dropped by the prosecution. I was initially confused as to why I was being arrested by three officers.

“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.

“It goes without saying, given the words of the Magistrate, that I didn’t strike anyone or initiate aggression in any way.

“I was on a team night out with the whole squad. I am grateful to the club, who have been fully supportive.

“I would like to publicly thank the Magistrate and the police and, once again, apologise both to them and to the public.”

Prosecutor Samantha Morris said the incident started when the doorman stopped Cipriani from walking out of the bar with two drinks.

He called the police after the fly-half became “physically aggressive”, she added.

She said he “refused to understand why he was being arrested” and “tensed up”, refusing to put his arms behind his back.

Cipriani told police “These wrists are gold, loosen the cuffs”, according to The Sun newspaper.

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 police woman sustained bruising to her right bicep and reddening to her chest, Miss Morris said.

Mr Preston said that when Cipriani was approached outside the Pomme d’Or hotel by police he was “confused as to why he was immediately arrested and why he was being handcuffed”.

“He is very sorry for his behaviour, which lasted a few seconds,” he added.

Cipriani, wearing an open-necked checked shirt, kept his head down as he emerged from court.

He ignored reporters’ questions before getting in to a waiting car.

Gloucester Rugby chief executive Stephen Vaughan described the incident as “very disappointing to be associated with”.

He said: “The incident in question was over in a matter of seconds and was a reaction to the conduct of other parties involved.”

He said Cipriani “knows his responsibilities and is aware of the impact of this type of incident on the club”.

“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.

He was originally also charged with larceny and being disorderly on licensed premises, but those charges were dropped.

The incident happened just hours after England cricketer Ben Stokes was cleared of affray following a city centre brawl outside Bristol nightclub Mbargo.

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.

He was ordered to pay a total of £7,620 in fines and costs and banned from driving for 18 months.

In 2013, he was hospitalised after being hit by a bus during a night out in Leeds.