A fiery text exchange that led to the break up of NRL star Sam Burgess and his ex-wife Phoebe has revealed the extent of the couple’s bitter feud.
The messages emerged as the South Sydney Rabbitohs legend gave evidence in court on Friday over the alleged assault of his father-in-law Mitchell Hooke.
Burgess described how an access visit with his two children descended into a slanging match with his father-in-law Mr Hooke after the break-up of his marriage.
The former NRL star’s legal team also claimed that Mr Hooke was determined to ‘ruin’ his rugby league career.
NRL star Sam Burgess (pictured) has stepped into the witness box to defend himself against allegations he assaulted and intimidated his ex-wife Phoebe’s millionaire father Mitchell Hooke
Mitchell Hooke, the father-in-law of former NRL player Sam Burgess, leaves Moss Vale Local Court in Moss Vale in November
Burgess has given evidence that three days before the alleged assault he met Mr Hooke to discuss the break-up with Phoebe, ‘basically just to open up lines of communication’. He is pictured with Phoebe above in 2018
Sam and Phoebe’s fiery exchange
Saturday 11.48: Hi Phoebe, I’m down in Bowral. Just thought I’d offer to come earlier when poppy wakes up so you’re not waiting for me for her chores and then I could still get my time with the kids. Thanks. (Sam)
11.49: Both asleep now. 2pm is still fine. I’ll leave you to it today. Phoebe. (Phoebe)
11.49: Great (Sam)
16.04: Let me know when you’ve left. (P)
16.05: I’m not leaving both kids with your dad. (S)
16.05: Excuse me. (P)
16.05: I will be home in 5 minutes when you have left. (P)
16.06: I am on my way now. (P)
16.06: Harriet is also there (P)
16.06: Ok I’ll wait until you get home (S)
16.06: Nobody in the house – want me to leave the kids in the living room (S)
16.07: No, dad will happily sit with them until I am home. ALl good. He’s in his office (P)
16.07: Just knock, he will happily come out and I am on the road. (P)
16.07: I’ll just wait. No problem. (S)
16.07: Please head off, I am on my way;, honestly I will send a pic when I have arrived home. I am not up to seeing you today, please understand. (P)
16.21: Really should stick to your plan Phoebe. That didn’t work (S)
16.22: Don’t you ever message me again (P)
16:22: You’re still not home. Billy crawling out of the rongt door and poppy as I left (S)
16.22: Great parenting (S)
16.22 I’m here (P)
16.29: Harriet witnessed that – you are a pig. I was waiting in the road to get back to my babies. You’re an absolute low life. How dare you. we are done – at least 2 people have now seen who you really are you fuck (P)
16.32: You guys are all the same. Your dad does exactly what you do. None stop, followed me around provoking me. It was exactly like you. Harriet had to come and stop your dad. So bad. The kids were crawling out of the house. I took photos. They were left unattended by your dad (S)
‘He reminded me that he was the guy that brought down the Kevin Rudd government,’ Burgess told Moss Vale Local Court.
‘Which I found really strange.’
Burgess is accused of assaulting and intimidating Mitchell Hooke at the Hooke family home in the New South Wales Southern Highlands, although no actual physical violence has been alleged against him.
Mr Hooke, who completed his testimony in November, was in the public gallery to hear Burgess’s evidence on Friday. Burgess’s mother Julie was also in court.
He has previously denied bragging to Burgess that as CEO of the Minerals Council of Australia he had ended the prime ministership of Kevin Rudd.
In that role Mr Hooke had won a brutal fight over what was sometimes known as Mr Rudd’s proposed resources super profits tax.
Two hours before the scheduled October 19, 2019, visit Burgess said Phoebe withdrew an offer for him to come earlier to spend more time with the children.
‘I was disappointed considering the very short period of time I was allowed with the children,’ he said.
To fill in time he spent about an hour and a half in the Royal Hotel at Bowral talking to locals and drinking four schooners of Great Northern mid-strength beer.
Burgess said when he arrived at the Hooke home about 2pm he was met by Mr Hooke who told him: ‘The kids are there, instructions are there’, then left him alone with the children.
About 4pm Phoebe, 31, sent Burgess a text message asking him to leave the property. At 4.04pm she sent another message saying, ‘Let me know when you’ve left’
Sam Burgess grins as he heads into court with his lawyer to face charges of assault and intimidation against his estranged father-in-law
Burgess, pictured with his mum Julie left, is accused of assaulting and intimidating Mitchell Hooke at the Hooke family home, although no actual physical violence has been alleged against him
About 4pm Phoebe, 31, sent Burgess a text message asking him to leave the property.
At 4.04pm she sent another message saying, ‘Let me know when you’ve left.’
Asked how he felt after receiving that message, Burgess said, ‘I was happy because I’d got four minutes extra by this point.’
Burgess sent Phoebe a text to say he would wait until she returned to the house because he did not want to leave the children unattended.
Phoebe insisted Burgess leave in another text, then Mr Hooke emerged from his office and spoke to Burgess.
‘He tapped his watch and said, ‘Time’s up, let’s go’,’ Burgess told the court.
‘I told Mitch I thought that this was inhumane.
‘At this point I didn’t really want to argue or discuss things in front of the kids. I said, ‘Mitch, please, not in front of the children. Let’s leave it.’
‘He said, ‘Since you opened the batting I’m going to continue’.’
Burgess said he left the house and Mr Hooke followed him outside.
He attended Moss Vale Court for the final AVO hearing on Friday with his lawyer Bryan Wrench (left)
‘I said, ‘Mitch, I think you’re a bad person inside and out… and that’s why Phoebe is the way she is.’ I told him he couldn’t make up for lost time.’
Burgess said Mr Hooke approached him on the pebble driveway and said, ‘You could have had all this’.
‘I think he meant the property,’ Burgess said.
‘He was pretty upset. He then shouted at me. He said, ‘F*** you Sam”. I returned serve. I said, ‘F*** you Mitch, you’re a piece of s***’.
‘He said, ‘Sam, nobody loves you. Your own family doesn’t love you We loved you. You’ve thrown that away.”
Burgess said he then told Mr Hooke: ‘No one in this whole town likes you. You’re a bad person’.
‘Then I called him a piece of s***,’ Burgess said.
Burgess told the court he was unhappy about leaving the multi-million dollar Glenquarry estate outside Bowral, known as Daffodil Downs, before Phoebe returned.
‘I didn’t want to leave the children with Mitch because I didn’t trust him with them,’ he said. ‘He’d never had them before by himself.’
‘I’m not leaving both kids with your dad… Nobody in the house – want me to leave the kids in the living room?’ Burgess texted Phoebe in a series of messages.
Phoebe urged Sam to leave the children with her father so she did not have to see Burgess before he left.
Burgess wrote that he would rather ‘wait’ for her to return.
‘Please head off, I am on my way; honestly I will send a pic when I have arrived home. I am not up to seeing you today, please understand,’ Phoebe wrote.
When Burgess replied ‘you really should stick to your plan,’ Phoebe said ‘don’t you ever message me again’.
At 4:22pm Burgess complained that Phoebe was ‘still not home’ and wrote ‘great parenting’.
Seven minutes later she sent a message in which she called Burgess ‘a f***’, ‘an absolute lowlife’ and ‘a pig’.
Burgess then lashed out at his former partner and drove off.
‘You guys are all the same. Your dad does exactly what you do. Non-stop, followed me around provoking me. It was exactly like you. Harriet had to come and stop your dad. So bad. The kids were crawling out of the house. I took photos. They were left unattended by your dad,’ he wrote.
The fiery text exchange that led to the break up of NRL star Sam Burgess and his ex-wife Phoebe has revealed the extent of the couple’s bitter feud.
Hours later when Burgess was at home he received a call from police he thought was about 10 or 10.30pm. It was actually 8.14pm.
Burgess was asked if there had been an incident at the Hooke property and replied there had been an argument. He denied threatening Mr Hooke and said his father-in-law had threatened him.
Among the first people NRL legend Sam Burgess contacted after the confrontation with his father-in-law was celebrity trouble-shooter and accountant-to-the-stars and Anthony Bell.
Burgess said he had called Bell about 15 minutes after the argument with Mr Hooke, amid a heated text exchange with Phoebe.
Police prosecutor Inspector Jamie Palmer suggested Mr Bell was ‘known as the fix-it man’, who had been involved in handling the fallout of previous scandals Burgess had faced.
She then asked if Mr Bell, who has described broadcaster Alan Jones as his mentor, was considered a person who celebrities called upon for advice when they faced potential bad publicity in the media.
‘He is an adviser to some people,’ Burgess said. ‘He’s actually my friend.’
Mr Bell’s prominent friends have included former Test cricket caption Michael Clarke, rugby league and union players, as well as television personalities such as Karl Stefanovic.
Burgess’s barrister Phillip Boulten SC said Mr Hooke had become upset when challenged by Burgess in his home and his evidence about the encounter should not be accepted.
‘Mr Hooke is a man who is not used to being questioned or challenged,’ Mr Boulten said.
‘He is a man who has a very firm belief in his own stature and particularly so in his own living room.
‘Mr Hooke regards himself as being a tough head. He abides by a public policy advocacy principle if you’re going to hit me make sure I stay down because if I don’t I’m going to come after you.
‘He does not brook opposition without coming after his opponent doubly hard.’
Inspector Palmer said Mr Hooke was a ‘staunch man.. used to these type of interactions’ who was not easily scared.
After the confrontation with his son-in-law Mr Hooke had appeared pale, shaken and ‘all over the shop’, she said.
Mr Boulten said Mr Hooke and his daughter had used the court proceedings as part of a plan to destroy his client’s career.
The pair had spoken to lawyers and Mr Hooke had spoken to a public relations expert before they made statements to police.
‘They were lawyered-up and PRed up from the get-go. This is an unusual phenomenon. This is not the way things normally occur. This is top-shelf treatment.’
‘Mitch Hooke and Phoebe Burgess have tried to destroy my client’s career and it’s not going to stop here, you might think.’
Burgess has pleaded not guilty to charges of intimidation and common assault after an alleged confrontation with his father-in-law Mitchell Hooke at the Hooke family home (pictured)
Burgess said his relationship with Mr Hooke had deteriorated over the last 12 months of his marriage to Phoebe but he had always treated him with respect.
He agreed Mr Hooke had helped him with some difficulties in the United Kingdom and was asked if Mr Hooke had embraced him as part of the family. ‘In his words, yes,’ he said.
Burgess called Mr Hooke ‘Mitchy Boy’ in text messages and accepted he had routinely signed off with ‘love you’ and Xs out of politeness.
Sam’s ex-wife Phoebe leaves court after admitting to giving damaging documents about her ex-husband Sam to The Australian newspaper. She denied she did so to destroy his reputation
‘He’s my father-in-law,’ he said.
He did not think it was Mr Hooke’s job to tell him what to do with his children and agreed he had called him a ‘s***house grandfather’.
Burgess had been ‘calm’, ‘angry’ and ‘upset’ during the encounter at the Hooke family home and blamed Mr Hooke in part for not being able to spend more time with his children.
Magistrate Robert Rabbidge will make findings on February 5.
Mitchell Hooke ran the Minerals Council of Australia. He is pictured with daughters Phoebe (centre) and Harriet after being made a member of the Order of Australia in 2016
Sam married Phoebe at her parents’ home in December 2015 and have two children, Poppy, who turns four next week, and Billy, who turned two in December.
The couple separated in late 2018 before rekindling their relationship by April 2019. They split again on October 2 that year and have since divorced.
Burgess’s off-field reputation has taken a battering in the media since his retirement with allegations of excessive partying.
Sam Burgess married Phoebe Hooke at her family home just outside Bowral in the NSW Southern Highlands in December 2015. The couple had two children and split in late 2019
He has been waiting for more than a year for this case to be finalised, having insisted through his lawyers from the start he was not guilty of committing any offence.
Burgess, one of four footballing brothers, was lured to the Rabbitohs by club part-owner and Hollywood star Russell Crowe, and helped guide them to the 2014 premiership.
He quit rugby league in October 2019 due to a chronic left shoulder injury.
This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk