NRL star Tom Starling’s father cried out that police “were killing” his son during a massive brawl at a Central Coast bar which involved riot squad officers and several police.
The Canberra Raiders hooker, 24, and his brothers Jackson, 26, and Josh, 21, fronted Sydney Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday over their alleged roles in a violent brawl at the Shady Palms hotel on December 5, 2020.
Tom and Jackson have both pleaded not guilty to resisting police in the execution of their duty.
Their brother Josh has denied three counts of resisting police and one charge of common assault. A fourth man, Jesse Byrne, also pleaded not guilty to hindering police.
The violent melee allegedly took place when the Starling brothers were out with friends and family to celebrate a 21st birthday party at the hotel in Avoca Beach.
The court heard yesterday the altercation began when a security guard allegedly called the Starling matriarch a “f***ing slut” and Josh leapt angrily to her defence.
On Thursday, the court heard Tom saw his brother Josh being detained by security guards from his vantage point on the venue stage. When he stepped down onto the ground, he said he was “king hit to the head”.
“I come down onto the floor and my head was shoved forward,” he told the court.
“I copped maybe three, four uppercuts in a short burst and I was driven backwards.”
The Canberra Raiders hooker said he was unable to see who was hitting him because he was covering his face, until he “poked (his) head up” and saw a police officer was responsible.
CCTV footage played to the court shows the NRL star being punched in the face repeatedly by a riot officer as a crush of people fight around them.
A riot officer can be seen in the footage grabbing Tom and continuing to hit him in the face while he stumbles backwards.
“I knew I gotta keep my head up because I gotta see these blokes coming,” Tom told the court.
“A barrage of punches and elbows come my way and one of them hits me flush and knocks me unconscious.”
As a professional NRL player, Tom said he was familiar with the feeling of being concussed.
Footage from a police camera worn by police that evening reveals his father cried out in panic that police were badly hurting his son.
“They’re killing him,” Mr Starling was heard yelling in the footage played to the court.
Police can be heard shouting at partygoers to stand back in the footage and suggesting anyone who comes near will be arrested.
The hearing continues.