Gardai probe alleged assault on young woman who posted video viewed 3 million times
A TELEVISION star has claimed he just pushed his former girlfriend after an online video showing her facial injuries went viral online.
Gardai in Dublin are investigating the alleged assault of mum-of-two Emma Murphy (26) by her ex-partner Francis Usanga (28) in a north Dublin gym.
A video showing Ms Murphy sporting a black eye has been viewed almost six million times.
Ms Murphy from Ballymun has been praised for her bravery in posting the video online and discussing the domestic abuse she allegedly suffered.
"I need to do this… to raise awareness for other women out there.
"It is difficult for me, but I have to do what is right," she said.
Usanga is well known throughout the fitness community in Dublin.
He manages a gym in Santry and has appeared as a fitness expert on RTE programme Today. He also played a doctor in TV3 soap Red Rock earlier this year.
In 2009, he won a Mr Ireland competition. He previously lived in Cork before moving to Dublin.
Usanga claims his former partner's bruised eye may have occurred as a result of her falling over after the incident. He admitted he has been unfaithful to the mother of his children.
He said he is "devastated and ashamed" following the incident.
"Yes I did push her. I pushed her, I didn't punch her. It was just the force," he told the Irish Sun.
"I did sleep with someone else. But I did not punch and I absolutely did not split her head open. I know nobody will believe me but I am not a violent person. I never, ever want to hurt anyone."
This morning, Usanga was not at his northside home. The alleged attacker was contacted by the Herald yesterday but he refused to be interviewed.
He remained inside his house for several hours, leaving it to his mother to emerge on a number of occasions to face the media.
"He did not murder anybody," she told the Herald. "He made a mistake. He is a good person. He did not do anything too wrong.
"He has seen the video and he is very upset."
Ms Murphy claimed in the video that she has previously been struck by Usanga.
"We were at an event he was working at and in the car on the way home, it was my friend, him and myself. There was an argument and he just boxed me," she said.
Emma has also appealed to women to walk away if they are in danger and said she would never forgive him.
"Not in a million years. That's it. I know deep in my heart now that its not right," she said.
Sources have disclosed that officers in Santry Garda Station are investigating the alleged assault.
Gardai have not yet interviewed or arrested Usanga.
In the video, Ms Murphy speaks tearfully about the alleged attack and tells how the man she was in a relationship with punched her and "split her head open" in previous episodes of violence.
"I've been told I'm paranoid, that I'm a psycho, that I'm nuts, and that my insecurities will kill me one day, even up until now he tells me my insecurities will kill me," she explains.
RTE were not commenting this morning on Usanga's work with the braodcaster. It is understood to have been on a sporadic basis in the past.
A spokeswoman for Women's Aid said that although they don't comment on individual cases, they urge women who find themselves in these situations to go for help.
"Attempts to undermine what a victim says are very common," a representative said."But the victim is never to blame. The perpetrator and society at large tend to blame the victim.
"Every woman who comes forward with a story must be believed. Coming forward is a very difficult thing to do."