Richard Dunne and Julie King made headlines when they married after Covid restrictions were lifted in 2020. But the marriage took a terrible turn, and Dunne has now been convicted of assault
A man has been convicted of assaulting his wife on their honeymoon after they became the first couple to marry following the easing of the UK’s Covid restrictions.
Richard Dunne grabbed Julie King behind the neck and lifted her off the ground causing actual bodily harm. Back on July 4 2020, they made headlines when marrying at Shire Hall in Gloucester – and being the first couple allowed to do so after the initial pandemic lockdown.
The happy times didn’t last, as Dunne assaulted his new wife during their honeymoon in Majorca. The trip continued, but after they came home Dunne attacked King again, digging nails into her cheek and throat and banging her head against a kitchen cupboard, the court heard.
Dunne was sentenced to a suspended 18 month prison term for assaulting his former wife – from whom he is now divorced – twice. He denied the offences but the jury found that he was guilty of the attack in their Majorca hotel on July 1, 2021. After the pair divorced in March 2022, the court heard the assaults were one of the reasons they split.
Only one of the 11-member jury didn’t find him guilty as he was convicted. During the trial, prosecuting barrister Lucy Taylor described in detail the horrific assaults, explaining that he dragged King by the arm into the backroom of their hotel suite, MailOnline reported. “He then stood behind her and squeezed tightly around her neck lifting her off the ground,” she added. “At that point Ms King was struggling to breathe. Dunne became distracted at that moment and his wife kicked out at him and bit him, forcing him to let go.
“On August 22, 2021, Dunne attended a car boot sale and when he returned home an argument started over money.” King was approached by Dunne in the kitchen, who grabbed her face and dug his nails in. “There was also bruising and a cut under her eye and above her lip. Dunne then smashed his wife’s head against the kitchen cupboard. After that he walked around the house kicking out at things with force. Finally, he left the house, locking his wife inside as he left. A few minutes later he returned home while his wife was looking for the spare key. She told him she was calling the police.
“Dunne tried to grab the phone from her but this was unsuccessful. He proceeded to punch at her and took money from a nearby shelf. When he was challenged over this, he was reminded that it was their savings to repair the shower. He then threw the cash in the air and left. His departing words were, ‘I hope you drop down dead, you’d better get on and order that double casket’.”
King said via a court statement: “When Dunne tried to strangle me it left me completely shook up. I was hurt by the one I loved most. Having to relive everything during the trial has had a detrimental effect on my mental health. I feel my life has been ripped apart by all of this. I have gone from an outgoing bubbly person to effectively becoming a hermit. I feel as if I have been isolated and pulled myself away from everyone. I find it hard to trust people. I will never be the woman before all this.”
Judge Rupert Lowe said to Dunne: “You are a man with a violent temper. You are also a man in denial. In reality, I suspect you must know these things. You have spent so long trying to persuade other people that none of the allegations were true that you seem to have started to convince yourself that it was true. Now is the time to stop the nonsense and get to grips with yourself. You’re a hard-working man and a valued contributing member of society, but all this has been ruined by your temper. However, there is a very slim glimmer of remorse, which just enables me to suspend your 18 month prison term for 18 months.”