Jennie Platt who screamed for help after rugby star Ricky Bibey died had been beaten up by the sportsman who suffered a heart attack during attack

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Jennie Platt who screamed for help after rugby star Ricky Bibey died had been beaten up by the sportsman who suffered a heart attack during attack

Successful estate agent and mother of two Jennie Platt sustained major injuries

A British woman who ran covered in blood and screaming ‘help me’ after her ex-rugby star boyfriend died in their Italian hotel room was the victim of a ‘shocking and violent assault’.

Successful estate agent Jennie Platt was rushed to hospital where she needed three operations after she was viciously beaten up by her lover Ricky Bibey, 40, who passed away from a suspected heart attack in the terrifying incident at the £350-a-night four-star Hotel Continentale in Florence.

Friends of Jennie, 44, a mother-of-two, say 6ft 3in Mr Bibey, who weighed 17 stones, subjected her to the vicious assault after they returned to their luxury hotel in the early hours of July 16 following a night of heavy drinking in the Italian city.

CCTV footage shows Jennie walking back to her hotel room in Florence, Italy, in the early hours of July 16 closely followed by Ricky in a pink shirt and two friends

Prosecutors investigating the attack had to wait more than a week to talk to Jennie and get her account of her ordeal because of the extent of her injuries and she has only now been discharged from hospital and allowed to return home but will need ongoing medical care.

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, a family friend said: ‘Jennie is devastated. She is the victim of a shocking and violent attack in the hotel room at the hands of the man she had a long-term relationship with.

‘She is a strong woman who runs a successful business and is desperately trying to come to terms with what has happened to her, and Ricky’s actions before his death.

‘She has been doing all she can to help the Italian authorities piece together what happened that night, speaking to them as a witness and as a victim of a domestic assault.’

The friend continued: ‘Jennie had been with Ricky for three years. They went to Florence for what was supposed to be a health break at a spa. Ricky had suffered mental health issues in recent times and experienced a serious downturn in the last six months.

‘He had been in and out of various centres, and this trip was to try and get him back on track – but it ended in tragedy. They had gone out for the evening and enjoyed being in Florence, which as everyone knows is a beautiful city, taking in the famous sights such as the Ponte Vecchio and Michelangelo’s David.’

The friend went on: ‘It will be difficult for people to hear as Ricky was well liked and respected in the rugby league fraternity, but Jennie is lucky to be with us after the attack. She is seeking answers and hopes the official investigation will provide those.

‘She has suffered several serious injuries, including one to her eye socket which very worrying. She is in a wheelchair currently as she recovers from the assault. She was discharged from hospital some days ago and has been staying in a different part of the city.

‘Although travelling home gives some logistical challenges, it is felt being at home is the best place for her. Her family are in the north west and she has many friends who will be supporting her during her recovery.

‘Jennie is a strong individual who will get through this with the support of her loved ones but will need to take it one day at a time.’

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