Police cameras reveal fall of NRL star Luke O’Donnell

 

They were attributes that took Luke O'Donnell to the heights of the NRL, but his strength, aggression and combative attitude also dragged him down to his lowest moment in his own apartment.

All were on display in a disturbing video filmed on the body camera of one of the six police officers sent to investigate his erratic behaviour on June 3 last year.

The video was played in court yesterday when the former State of Origin star was convicted of four offences including assaulting a female senior constable.

The police had been called to the Clovelly unit by O'Donnell's parents, who were staying there for a family function, after they became concerned when O'Donnell started "rambling", held a knife to his own chin and hung out a three-storey window.

O’Donnell’s father Ross answers the door with his son after the police were called. Picture: NSW Police
O’Donnell’s father Ross answers the door with his son after the police were called. Picture: NSW Police

During the footage, the officers, his parents and his girlfriend call on him repeatedly to calm down so they can talk to him.

"Mate settle down, you have woke up the whole building," his father Ross pleads with him in the doorway when police arrive. "Can they come in and see you. Can they come in and talk to you at least?"

O’Donnell’s parents called the police after he started rambling and held a knife to his own chin. Picture: NSW Police
O’Donnell’s parents called the police after he started rambling and held a knife to his own chin. Picture: NSW Police

But the 38-year-old former Roosters premiership winner objects and, despite the efforts of police, tensions escalate to threats.

"Listen here you c**t you're not putting handcuffs on me I'll f**king smash the f**k out of you get off me," he says in the video as police struggle to subdue him. "C**t get off me, go back to Goulburn police school you p**ck."

 

O’Donnell reacts as police officers try to hold him. Picture: NSW Police
O’Donnell reacts as police officers try to hold him. Picture: NSW Police

 

O’Donnell became violent as he refused to be handcuffed. Picture: NSW Police
O’Donnell became violent as he refused to be handcuffed. Picture: NSW Police

 

O’Donnell’s girlfriend was present during the incident. Picture: NSW Police
O’Donnell’s girlfriend was present during the incident. Picture: NSW Police

 

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Police eventually deploy a taser with one officer saying on the video "he's too aggressive" and it is "too dangerous".

His current girlfriend, who sat beside him in court yesterday, could be seen screaming and crying.

O’Donnell is locked in a holding cell once at the police station. Picture: NSW Police
O’Donnell is locked in a holding cell once at the police station. Picture: NSW Police

His barrister Stephen Lawrence told Downing Centre Local Court that O'Donnell had struggled to "adjust to life away from football" since his 2013 retirement and his separation from his wife.

A psychological report tendered in court said he now realised people only befriended him when he was an NRL player for their own interests.

 

 

O’Donnell arrives with his girlfriend at Downing Centre Court in Sydney on Wednesday. Picture: Damian Shaw
O’Donnell arrives with his girlfriend at Downing Centre Court in Sydney on Wednesday. Picture: Damian Shaw

Mr Lawrence applied for the charges to be dismissed on mental health grounds as O'Donnell had been diagnosed with major depression but it was rejected by Magistrate Philip Stewart.

"He was not getting his way with police and he was angry about that," said Magistrate Stewart, calling O'Donnell a "powerfully built man".

O'Donnell was fined $1600 and placed on a one year community corrections order which will require him to abstain from drugs and be supervised for nine months.

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