'You’re married. Pull your head in, mate': Tindall's confrontation with Australian tourist before he walked away with blonde

Sunday, September 18, 2011

-Damning new witnesses accuse him of ‘overtly sexual’ behaviour
-Bouncer Jonathan Dixon arrested for uploading Tindall CCTV
-Prospect of embarrassing court case scuppering World Cup

By Simon Parry

Ladies' man: Mike Tindall with rugby fan Janine Jefferis - who is not the girl in the CCTV images - just hours before he was caught on camera with a mystery blonde

Pressure was growing on England rugby captain Mike Tindall last night after a criminal charge was levelled at a nightclub bouncer who blew the whistle on his evening out with a mystery blonde in New Zealand.

Jonathan Dixon – who uploaded CCTV security video on to YouTube showing Zara Phillips’s husband kissing and cuddling the woman in Queenstown last Sunday – was arrested and charged with accessing a computer system for dishonest purposes.

The arrest of the burly 40-year-old bouncer raises the prospect of a highly embarrassing court case in New Zealand that could overshadow England’s World Cup campaign.

Dixon told The Mail on Sunday that he uploaded the footage from security computers at the Altitude bar because he was outraged by Tindall’s ‘sleazy’ behaviour. Dixon was released on bail and will reappear in court in Queenstown tomorrow morning.

As well as a distraction for the England team, Dixon’s court appearance could coincide uncomfortably with Ms Phillips’s imminent arrival in New Zealand to support her husband in the latter stages of the tournament.

Dixon said last night: ‘If my case goes to trial, I want Mike Tindall to appear in the witness box and explain his actions that night.’

Tindall's father Phil said his son had spoken to him and reassured him that everything was okay.

Mr Tindall said his son told him the woman involved in the bar incident was a good friend and that he was focusing on the rugby.

'It’s all just a fuss over nothing, which has only happened ­because of who Mike is married to.' he told the Sunday Mirror.

'I’ve seen the pictures and must say I don’t recognise the girl in the footage at all, but I’ve been told she’s a friend and I know nothing untoward would have happened.'

Mr Tindall said his son made no mention of his new wife during their conversation. Meanwhile, fresh witnesses to Tindall’s liaison with the blonde have revealed lurid new details of his antics, which cast serious doubts over claims in Britain that Ms Phillips is ‘relaxed’ about his account of the night out.

A spokesman for Ms Phillips has described the woman as a friend of the couple who has known Tindall since university days and who was at their wedding in July. But the Queen’s 30-year-old granddaughter struggled to put on a brave face as she competed in a three-day equestrian event in Ireland this weekend.

Despite the spokesman’s implication that ¬Tindall was indulging in a spot of harmless horseplay with an old pal, witnesses standing close to the couple in the Altitude bar described his approach to her as ‘overtly sexual’.

Tindall, 32, had been drinking with other members of the England team in another bar last Sunday, the day after their narrow victory over Argentina, before they arrived at the Altitude. The captain had already posed for pictures with rugby fans, including pretty Janine Jefferis, who is not the girl he was seen with at the Altitude.

There the players drank shots and beers, surrounded by crowds of admirers including a number of young women. The other team members gradually melted away, leaving Tindall, the blonde and a female friend of the blonde near the nightclub bar at around 1.30am.

Of the other players, only veteran hooker Steve Thompson remained, standing apart from Tindall and the blonde, downing rounds with rugby-loving customers all too eager to buy him drinks.

Six security cameras around the club picked up incriminating but soundless images of Tindall and the blonde becoming increasingly intimate. Witnesses standing close to them said the England captain’s intentions were clear.

‘There was no doubt what he was after,’ said one witness. ‘At one stage he put his hand down the back of her jeans. Then he put his hand up her top at the back, as if he was trying to undo her bra strap.’

Tindall repeatedly tried to persuade the blonde to leave the bar with him, the witness said. ‘He was trying to drag her out of the door by the arm but she pulled free and said to him jokingly, “You’re married.” ’

It was at this point that CCTV cameras filmed the couple cuddling beside the doors before the woman pulled Tindall towards her chest and kissed his shaved head. The witness said the couple then kissed each other on the lips.

The witness added: ‘He appeared a little unsteady on his feet but he kept insisting and pulling on her arm. She eventually gave in and walked out of the bar with him. Her female friend followed behind.’

Tindall’s behaviour in the street outside was even more mystifying for someone sup¬posedly enjoying the company of a platonic friend.

At the end of the silent video footage of Tindall and the blonde posted on YouTube, the player can be seen talking briefly to a passer-by outside the bar.

A second witness told The Mail on Sunday that the footage actually shows Tindall being confronted by a male Australian tourist who recognised him and said: ‘You’re married. Pull your head in, mate.’

The witness said: ‘Someone, I’m not sure if it was Tindall, said, “What goes on tour, stays on tour.” Tindall seemed to stumble forward towards the tourist before he was quickly pulled away by the girl and her friend.

‘After that, Tindall and the blonde walked away from the bar with their arms around each other.’

The blonde’s friend was walking behind as the couple left the Altitude at around 2am, but was nowhere to be seen an hour later when a separate witness saw Tindall and the blonde walk hand in hand past another bar about 500 yards away. ‘There was no one else with them,’ the witness said. ‘I didn’t see where they went.’

Before reporting for a pre-arranged interview at Queenstown police station yesterday, Dixon, who has worked as a bouncer around New Zealand for 20 years, said that he had put the CCTV footage on the internet partly because he believed Tindall’s behaviour had insulted the Royal Family.

Cosy: Mike Tindall is seen with his arm around the blonde woman in the grainy CCTV footage

‘That kind of behaviour is completely wrong,’ said Dixon, who was contacted by police after the owner of the Altitude made a formal complaint about footage from its security cameras being uploaded on to YouTube.

‘In New Zealand we have two national anthems – God Defend New Zealand and God Save The Queen. The Queen is in our national anthem and she is on our bank notes. She’s not just your Queen – she’s our Queen too. This is the man who has just married the Queen’s granddaughter and I thought his behaviour was sleazy.’

Dixon, who had been working at another bar in Queenstown earlier last Sunday night, said he was called to the Altitude at 11.30pm to ‘beef up’ security after the England team arrived. He left at 1.30am and said he saw ‘nothing untoward’ in Tindall’s behaviour up to that point, although he was with the blonde. It wasn’t until the next morning that he heard from amazed colleagues that the couple had become intimate shortly after he left.

Dixon said he obtained the CCTV footage from the Altitude computer banks the next day. Later, he was contacted by a British newspaper which published a story about the episode without any of the footage. Dixon received no payment for the article.

Damning: A still from the CCTV footage showing Mike Tindall with a mystery blonde, which was posted on YouTube

Just good friends: The girl - seemingly kissing Tindall's forehead - is a friend of the couple and was at their wedding, a spokesman for Zara said

Early on Friday, keen to see the footage aired, Dixon uploaded it on to YouTube, ensuring that it was seen by millions of people worldwide within hours.

In a foretaste of what he may argue at his court case, Dixon said: ‘It’s not that I’m the most moral person in the world, but I have a conscience and I was raised well, and I didn’t like what I saw. Anyone who does this kind of thing when they’ve made wedding vows in front of God should be ashamed of themselves.

‘I wanted to tell him, “Mr Tindall, you did something really wrong, not just to your wife but to your nation.”

‘I knew there was no chance of me ever standing in front of Tindall and giving him a piece of my mind about his conduct, so I decided to put it on YouTube so that everyone could see it and form their own opinion.

‘I think that everyone who sees it will think the same as I do: how can you do this? She’s your wife and she’s the Queen’s granddaughter. If this had involved a Maori queen, she would have cut off his head.’

Newlyweds: Mike and Zara on their wedding day in Edinburgh in July

Dixon scoffed at the claims that the blonde was a friend of Tindall and Ms Phillips, saying: ‘If that’s true, Zara should get rid of her friend. I wouldn’t have a friend like that, and if she is a friend of hers, Zara is hanging around with the wrong people.

‘What amazes me is that no one was stopping Tindall. He’s the captain of the England team but no one was keeping an eye on him. If I had seen anything going on, I would have stopped him. I would have gone up to him and told him to watch himself.

‘I’ve heard that some British people who were in Queenstown that night saw him and they were disgusted at what they saw.’

Dixon, who is 6ft 6in tall and weighs 19st 7lb compared with 6ft 1in Tindall’s 16st 9lb, added: ‘If the Queen wants someone to give him a hiding, she should give me a call.’

The blonde seen with Tindall last Sunday night is described by Ms Phillips’s spokesman as an English friend living in Australia who was on holiday at the time of the incident. She is now believed to be back in Australia..


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