Former world boxing champion Eamonn Magee avoids jail over assault on ex-wife
Former world boxing champion Eamonn Magee escaped jail today after being convicted of a drunken assault on his ex-wife.
A four-month prison sentence imposed on the 42-year-old ex-fighter for kicking Mary Magee was suspended for two years.
Magee was cleared of a second charge of stealing £30 and a house key from her during the same incident.
Belfast Magistrates' Court heard a row flared between the pair after he came back to her home in the city following a night out drinking last September.
The argument was said have centred on Magee's annoyance at his ex-wife's step sister being present.
Mrs Magee claimed he grabbed her mobile phone and deleted numbers before turning violent and kicking her on the leg.
She left the house but returned the following day and discovered the money missing from her handbag, according to her account.
Magee, known as The Terminator during a professional career which saw him capture the WBU belt, denied the allegations.
He told the court any bruising on his ex-wife's leg was caused by her playing camogie.
Questioned by defence barrister Sean O'Hare about the alleged theft, he replied: "I never seen any £30. I have my own money, I don't need to take her money."
He went on to describe feeling "disgusted" at being arrested and ultimately charged.
"I think this is about the 19th time I have been in court over allegations. It's just the same old, same old," he said.
Under cross-examination he was unable to recall how much he had to drink before returning to the house.
"I wasn't drinking during the day to fall over, I was able to walk. Different people can hold different units," he said.
Magee, with an address at Eskdale Gardens, Belfast, accepted being upset at finding someone in the house who "wasn't welcome" but denied getting angry.
"I did not touch her," he insisted.
"I'm here to put my case in front of the judge and plead my innocence again and again and again."
However, District Judge George Conner ruled that Mrs Magee had been a reluctant but credible witness.
"Put in simple terms as regards the allegation of assault I believe her," he said.
Judge Conner dismissed the theft charge after saying the allegation was "probable" but not proven to the required standard.
Imposing the four-month suspended jail sentence, he added: "I want to reflect the fact that this is a situation of domestic violence."
Magee left the court without further comment.
His professional career spanned 33 fights and also included Commonwealth success.
He was the first boxer to knock down fellow ex-world champion Ricky Hatton, even though he went on to lose that bout on a split decision.
Since his retirement from the ring six years ago he has worked as a trainer at the famous Breen's Gym in Belfast.