The partner of Sea Eagles star Dylan Walker has told a court hearing that a scuffle between the pair in a neighbour’s driveway last December started because of an argument over kitchen utensils and the 24-year-old spending too much time playing video games.
But during a five-hour hearing in Manly Local Court on Tuesday,Alexandra Ivkovic changed her story about Walker’s physical contact against her that led to Dee Why police charging him with two counts of assault, one occasioning actual bodily harm. He has pleaded not guilty to both.
However, Ivkovic never waivered from the fact the argument started when she had made an early dinner on Thursday, December 6, while Walker had spent “more than hour” on his Play Station console.
“I wanted to know if he wanted a fork or a spoon with his dinner,” she told police in a video recording conducted at the couple’s home about an hour after the incident. Walker had already been taken to the police station for separate questioning.
“He lost his s---, called me a f------, threw off his headphones, threw down the [hand] controller. I went outside because I wanted to be left alone.
“He kept calling me to come back, kept trying to talk to me but I didn’t want to speak to him. I turned around and he pulled me by the ponytail to the ground.”
Ivkovic then shows the bloodied minor cuts on her shoulder arm and leg to the police camera.
“He was really pissed and angry that I interrupted his game. He started screaming and carrying on.”
The alleged assault happened as she clutched the couple’s then four-month-old son Leo in her arms. She said she sustained the injuries trying to protect him as she fell.
Ivkovic then made a Triple-000 emergency call – which was played in court. Ambulance and police arrived about 15 minutes later and Leo was checked and cleared of any injury.
But now, three months later, Ivkovic told Manly Local Court that she believed Walker did not pull, but “touched my hair” as he grabbed her left shoulder to try to get her to stop and speak with him.
She said he over-balanced, lost her footing and fell.
This was despite giving two video and several written statements to police that Walker had pulled at her hair.
“He was trying to make me get off the street but I didn’t want to be alone with him. He was scaring me.”
The only other witness to the incident was neighbour Lauren O’Sullivan. She and her partner Craig Monika live directly opposite Walker and Ivkovic but had never met or talked with the couple before.
“I saw him [Walker] yank her ponytail very hard and I saw her fall to the ground,” she told Magistrate Michelle Goodwin. “He was becoming more vocal and I could hear him pleading with her to come back [inside the house] before he yanked her back.
“It was enough for me to feel quite distressed.”
O’Sullivan invited Ivkovic back to her home despite Walker trying to get her back inside the couple’s property.
“I said to him ‘She doesn’t want to come with you. She wants to come with me’. He then said ‘F--- off and mind your own business’.”
Then Monika approached and told the court Walker said to him “You wanna go?” but he told the Test and Origin star he didn’t want any trouble and that police had been called.
“I asked my partner what had happened and she said ‘That guy just attacked that girl’,” Monika told the court.
Ivkovic doesn’t deny going to O’Sullivan and Monika’s place but says that so much happened in such a short time – “I never had 10 seconds to myself’ – that it was only after she finally had time to breathe, call her mother, reached out by text to her three closest girlfriends, she came to different conclusions of what had happened.
“Once I calmed down and realised I was recalling things differently to what actually happened,” she told the court. “When he reached out to grab my shoulder my hair got in the way.”
Both Ivkovic and police confirmed no drugs or alcohol was involved. Ivkovic also said she made several attempts to contact police tell them of her alternate recollections but “no-one was letting me talk”.
But police prosecutor Craig Pullen suggested Ivkovic had been influenced by her friends and family to change her story.
“I completely disagree with that. I actually confided in them and said I felt like I’d over-reacted,” she told the court.
Pullen again suggested she came “to lie on the defendant’s behalf” so his career and income as a professional footballer would not be in jeopardy.
“I would never lie under oath,” Ivkovic said.
Walker’s barrister Richard Pontello also put it to Ivkovic that she was now giving a different version to her initial police statements so Walker would be found not guilty.
“I would not stay in a violent domestic relationship. I would not raise my son in that environment. Why would I throw myself under a bus for someone trying to intentionally hurt me?”
As to the questions about needing Walker’s income, Ivkovic said the couple had been together three years and prior to falling pregnant, she had completed university, had her own well-paid job, a company car, corporate credit card and did not need to rely on his financial support.
Magistrate Goodwin became annoyed late in the day when police tried to enter fresh evidence, claiming there were historical issues of aggression in the relationship that Ivkovic had not been truthful about.
She said that would have to be debated in full at a later day and adjourned proceedings until May 10. She continued an apprehended violence order (AVO) that allows the couple to cohabit but Walker must not harass, abuse or intimidate Ivanovic.
Ivkovic said the Manly rugby league club had reached out to her offering any support she wanted, and the NRL had provided a counsellor, whom she had met with several times.