Damaen Kelly tells court he could not recall attacking wife

Damaen Kelly
Image caption Mr Kelly is a former IBO and WBF boxing world champion

A former world champion boxer has claimed he could not remember attacking his wife.

Damaen Kelly, 39, told Belfast Crown Court he was so drunk he would not remember hitting his wife's head off a wall or strangling her in April 2009.

He said, however, the fact that he stabbed himself in the stomach was an indicator "of the state I was in".

Mr Kelly, of Monagh Road in Belfast, denies wounding Margaret Doherty with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

He has previously admitted assaulting her and smashing her mobile phone.

On Monday, the court heard Ms Doherty, who has since stopped using her married name of Kelly, claim that her husband attacked her while accusing her of having an affair with a college lecturer.

Ms Doherty, who admitted receiving an "inappropriate text message" from one of her lecturers, claimed that as Kelly attacked her she thought she was "going to die" as her two-year-old son sat "screaming" on the bed.


On Tuesday, Mr Kelly told defence QC Philip Magee that like every relationship, the couple had their "ups and downs", and that when his wife said she wanted to do an educational course he supported her "100%".

His suspicions were first raised, he told the court, when he saw a text the lecturer sent his wife with an "X" at the end of it, telling the court "a professional person doesn't send those types of text - to me it means something."

Mr Kelly said he asked his wife outright "is there something going on?" but she denied it and then later, when he asked to use her phone, she refused which had concerned him.

Moving to the night of the incident, Mr Kelly said the couple were speaking and Ms Doherty asked for a "six-month break from the marriage".

"I said is there someone else, just honestly tell me so I know," claimed Mr Kelly adding, "she said no".

He said that at some stage Ms Doherty received a text message and although he asked to see her phone, she refused which led to "a bit of a scuffle" but when Mr Magee asked if he struck his wife, Mr Kelly claimed he could not remember.

"I don't deny doing it but I just can't remember because I had been drinking at that time," claimed Mr Kelly who said that when he got the phone and read the text message, "I was saddened by it".

Mr Magee asked if he could remember striking his wife, getting knives from the drawer or stabbing himself but Mr Kelly told the lawyer "it's a bit of a blur to be honest".


Under cross examination from prosecuting lawyer David McClean, it was revealed that the text Mr Kelly read was "you are the only one in the class that I fancy", and the former boxer said he used his wife's phone to reply, telling the lecturer "leave my wife alone".

The lawyer put Ms Doherty's account to Mr Kelly about the details of the attack but he repeatedly claimed he was so drunk he could not remember doing any of it.

Mr McClean put to him specifically that he intended to cause serious injury to Ms Doherty but Mr Kelly denied that, telling the lawyer: "Something had happened on the night but I had no intention to seriously injure Mags and she knows that."

The jury have now heard all of the evidence in the case so once they have heard closing remarks from both the defence and prosecution, as well as directions on the law from Judge Kerr, they will retire to consider their verdicts.

The trial continues.