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World Cup-winning Germany defender Jerome Boateng appeared in court in Munich on Thursday morning to face allegations of assault on his ex-fiancée Sherin Senler.
Boateng, 33, is accused of causing dangerous bodily harm to Senler, who is the mother of his twin daughters, in an incident in 2018.
Wearing a navy suit in the dock alongside his lawyer Kai Walden, the former Manchester City and Bayern Munich defender appeared in court to face the allegations levelled against him.
If he is found guilty he could be sentenced to up to five years in prison.
Last year German newspaper Bild reported that Boateng, who now plays in France for Lyon, is alleged have ‘thrown a small glass candle holder’ at Senler while away on holiday.
His representatives have consistently maintained that the accusations are based on unproven claims from a third party, though details remain unknown. Boateng has denied all allegations against him.
The public prosecutor’s office No 1 of Munich has been investigating the incident for three years and while charges were brought before a district court on February 11 in 2019, it has taken until today to get the trial to court due to delays.
Boateng and his former partner were a couple for 10 years and have two children together.
Video evidence of the alleged assault was reported to have been viewed by the District Court but proceedings slowed down following the coronavirus outbreak in Europe back in March.
Boateng and Senler began dating in 2007 but have had a stormy relationship which has seen them separate on numerous occasions.
The pair’s break up in 2011 – the same year twins Soley and Lamia were born – was so acrimonious that they were said to have only communicated through their lawyers.
Boateng and Senler, a former fashion student, rekindled their love in 2013 and got engaged the following year but are understood to have split again following the alleged assault in 2018.
It has been a turbulent year so far for the footballer.
His ex-girlfriend, influencer and model Kasia Lenhardt, was found dead having committed suicide in a Berlin flat in February while he was away playing for Bayern at the Club World Cup in Qatar.
He was immediately given permission to fly home after news of her death.
The 25-year-old took her life six days after Boateng finished their relationship, then gave details of the break-up during a frank interview with top German daily Bild.
Lenhardt – who had the footballer’s name tattooed on her ribcage – branded her ex ‘the devil’ and vowed to ‘speak up’ and ‘fight back’ once she had recovered from the break-up.
Just hours before she was found dead, Lenhardt had posted to Instagram talking about a ‘new chapter’ in her life.
After making 363 appearances for Bayern, winning nine Bundesliga and two Champions League titles, Boateng’s contract was not extended when it expired in June before he was snapped up last week by Lyon.
He was a key part of the Germany squad which won a fourth World Cup crown in Brazil, but has not played for his country since being axed by former German coach Joachim Low in March 2019.
However, Boateng still hopes to add to his 73 international appearances under Low’s successor Hansi Flick, his former coach at Bayern Munich, who masterminded the Bavarian giants claiming a treble of titles in 2019-20.
The son of a German mother and Ghanaian father, he found himself at the centre of a debate over integration when he was attacked for his skin colour by the leader of Germany’s far-right party in 2016.
Germany’s leader Angela Merkel got involved and invited Boateng to an event at the chancellery, where she made a point of telling Boateng’s father, who was also there, ‘You have a great son, you can be proud’.
It is reported that a verdict in the alleged assault case could be made in the case as early as Thursday. The trial continues.