|Life's A Beach: Marco & Toni|
A privately-educated playboy, whose £17m photo messaging app Fling collapsed earlier this year, has received a suspended prison sentence for drunkenly attacking his fiancé at their luxury Thames side apartment.
Marco Nardone, 29, the son of a millionaire wine merchant, dragged his partner of two years Toni Allcock by her hair and slapped, throttled and kicked her in the stomach at the £2m flat.
Nardone, who was educated at £36,000- year Charterhouse, and is a physics graduate of Imperial College London was sentenced to eight weeks imprisonment, suspended for eighteen months.
“As the author of the probation report says this was a really serious offence. It was vicious, spiteful and sustained and very shocking actually,” Westminster Magistrate Ms Amanda Barron told him.
Nardone pleaded guilty to assaulting Ms Allcock at the apartment in
Distillery Wharf, Regatta Lane, Hammersmith on December 12, last year.
He was also ordered to complete forty sessions of a Building Better Relationships Programme and twenty days of a probation-ordered rehabilitation activity requirement.
Prosecutor Miss Katie Bryan told the court: “The victim and the defendant were partners residing together. They had been in a relationship two years and have no children.
“She says that six months into the relationship there were some difficulties.”
Tension built over Nardone exchanging WhatsApp messages with an ex-girlfriend he was allowing to stay at the apartment when Ms Allcock was away.
|Court Date: Nardone|
“She was in bed at 2.30am and had a dispute with the defendant about a WhatsApp message.”
Nardone had been out late that night enjoying dinner with dad Remo, 81, owner of Enotria Winecellars and returned home drunk.
“She said he returned later and had been drinking and she went down to the kitchen to make a hot chocolate drink.
“The defendant followed her down and blocked her from leaving the kitchen and took out his phone and tried to film her and then put his two hands around her neck.
“He slapped her across the face and she describes ear ringing due to the impact and decided to leave the property.”
Throughout the assault she was shouting: “Leave me alone.”
“She left the door ajar, but the defendant locked the door and she is screaming and banging on the door, asking to be let back in.
“Mr. Nardone opened the door and said: ‘Get your stuff’ but she did not go in because she thought the defendant was trying to lure her in.”
Ms Alcock then tried to raise the alarm with the building’s 24-hour concierge, but Nardone blocked her from ringing the bell with his hand.
“She then made a run for the lift and the defendant followed her and dragged her back by her hair.
“She managed to get away and call the lift and the defendant followed her back and to use her words: ‘booted her in the stomach.’
“She then describes taking the lift down and running across the lobby to get help.”
Her ordeal lasted approximately twenty minutes and it was not the first time police had been called to a row between the pair.
There was another incident earlier last year. “There was a fall-out in the property,” explained Ms Bryan. “A neighbour describes screams from the balcony and they called the police.”
Fortunately the lift’s CCTV captured the moment Nardone kicked Ms Allcock in the stomach, but this was not played in court.
Ms Barron added: “We put this in the highest category of common assault, Category One. It was a sustained attack and there were four parts to it.
“You grabbed her around the throat, slapped her around the face, causing her ear ringing and kicked her in the stomach, having previously pulled her by the hair.
“She tried to escape, but you kept going and it is aggravated by you being very drunk that night and she was in her home and tried to leave. It must have been awful for her.
“This is a pattern of behaviour and in the report she says you have slapped her in the past and grabbed her around the throat in the past. We are very concerned about her.
“We have thought very hard about sending you to prison today.
“It is important you have specific domestic abuse counselling so you don’t do this again.
“It says in the report you are hot a heavy drinker and don’t use drugs, but you were obviously out of control due to the alcohol.”
The magistrates indicated why they did not immediately jail Nardone. “There were no long-term injuries and you have shown some remorse.
“You have to turn up to all the sessions. I know you are trying to run a business, but this comes first, there are no excuses.
“This really is hanging over you, but it is allowing you to get on with your life and improve your relationship,” added Ms Barron.
Nardone must also pay £85 costs and a £115 victim surcharge within seven days. No compensation order was made in favour of Ms Allcock.
His lawyer Mr. Martin Lewis handed the court a letter from Nardone’s therapist at the Sloane Court Centre.
“The defendant has gone to seek counselling and Ms Allcock wants to join in on those counselling sessions.
“This is a couple who hope to remain together for a long, long time. They are engaged, they work together, they are business partners, they are together twenty-four hours a day.
“They are two very highly ambitious people, who wish to stay together. Since being caught he’s grown up and realises this has to be addressed.”
Mr. Lewis has viewed the phone footage shot by Nardone. “We can see Miss Allcock is in quite a high state because he was late coming home from dinner with his father.
“There is evidence of her shouting at the defendant and calling him a liar and the defendant can be heard saying: ‘please calm down’ not in a harsh voice, but a soft voice.
“She is shouting loudly and it is a residential block of flats and the row spills into the common parts.”
Nardone’s app Fling - which allowed users to send photos to random people - was effectively hijacked by sexting and never made a penny.
He was backed by his father, who reportedly gave him £1.5m when aged 23 to develop the app.
Nardone was the chief executive of Fling, which at its height claimed to have four million users , who sent fifty million messages.
However, while the app struggled to turn a profit for investors, estimated to have ploughed in £17m, Nardone featured his party lifestyle on his Instagram account, which included holidays in Ibiza, fine dining at Michelin-starred restaurants and relaxing at the riverside apartment.
The company is believed to be in administration, owing twitter £120,000; Google over £45,000 and £95,000 to the taxman.
Nardone was employed for a year as a trader at Credit Suisse after leaving university before launching his own business.
However, Fling was never in profit and was criticised as a forum for men to harass women with explicit nude photographs.
Despite this Nardone started a new music company called Gig FM, boasting on facebook to have created ‘the world’s first proper Music live streaming app.’