An NRL star nearly died after losing 2.5 litres of blood when he slashed himself while punching a window when he caught his fiancee performing a sex act on one of his teammates, a court has heard.
Ex-Sharks and Bulldogs hooker Michael Lichaa, 29, was on Friday acquitted of domestic violence charges after his former fiancee, Kara Childerhouse, declined to testify against him.
But he also detailed how the ugly incident forced him to change his life for the better.
After waking up to find Childerhouse in his backyard performing a sexual act on his former Bulldogs teammate Adam Elliott, he flew into a rage, the court was told.
In a state of shock, and still affected by alcohol after drinking all afternoon and into the early morning at his home, a torrent of expletives rained from his mouth in disbelief.
He stormed inside, followed by Elliott, where he punched the glass window on his front door, cutting his arm badly as he pulled it from the frame.
Concerned neighbours, who reported hearing a man scream "I'm going to f***ing kill her", called emergency services.
Lichaa was later charged with domestic violence offences after Childerhouse accused him of assaulting her.
The incident left him a shattered man.
"I couldn't get the image of my fiancee performing oral sex on my best friend out of my mind," Lichaa told the Sutherland Local Court in southern Sydney on Friday.
He took the witness stand in the afternoon and in testimony described by Magistrate Melissa Humphreys as "genuine and insightful", Lichaa detailed how the incident prompted him to seek counselling to take ownership for his actions.
"I'm glad the truth finally came out; I was very confident in the truth the whole time," Lichaa told NCA NewsWire outside court on Friday as he thanked his legal team, family and new fiancee.
"But I just want to put it all behind me now and move on with my life and happy days ahead."
His trial before Magistrate Humphreys took a sensational twist on Thursday when Childerhouse refused to turn up to give evidence.
Even though she had been subpoenaed and was midway through her testimony, police were unable to contact Childerhouse after knocking on her door and calling her.
The court heard she no longer wanted to take part in the proceedings and was pregnant and worried about the stress of reliving the incident.
All of the testimony she had given until that point was excluded.
A statement – in which she retracted the allegations – was admitted into evidence.
It left the prosecution with no evidence to tender on the assault charge.
Elliott told the court on Thursday that he had been drinking for 12 hours when the ugly incident unfolded.
When it was suggested that Lichaa had assaulted Childerhouse, Elliott told the court: "I disagree."
Elliott told the court Lichaa had gone inside and he followed in an attempt to apologise.
Lichaa exclaimed "what the f**k are you doing?" and went outside on to his driveway and walked back and forth in a heated state.
A witness previously told the court she had heard a man saying loudly, "I'm going to f***ing kill her".
Lichaa's barrister, James Trevallion, denied that amounted to an offence of intimidation, adding there was no evidence the words were said in her presence.
"Clearly it was a situation where there was a lot of emotion and feeling and it would be remarkable when walking up and down the street if he wasn't yelling and screaming and emotional and upset about what had occurred," Trevallion told the court on Friday.
Magistrate Humphreys said she could not find beyond a reasonable doubt that Lichaa had said the words in his fiancee's presence as she found him not guilty of one count of intimidation.
Lichaa pleaded guilty to the less serious charge of destroying property relating to a broken glass window he had punched during the incident.
Images from police body-worn camera footage obtained by NCA NewsWire showed the pools of blood in the defendant's house after he cut his arm.
The court heard he had lost 2.5 litres of blood and his father Joe emotionally told the court he feared his son was going to lose his life.
On the police footage, one officer describes the scene as a "bloodfest".
Lichaa was taken to hospital and underwent surgery before being taken into custody and charged.
He pleaded guilty to the destroying property charge and the magistrate declined to record a conviction, placing him on a two-year conditional release order.
Lichaa told the court that at the time he felt his life had been "ruined" by Childerhouse and Elliott, but he said he refused to blame them any more.
Instead, he described his actions in breaking the door as wrong.
"It's something I take ownership for. It's embarrassing. I regret it completely," he said.
He detailed how he had undergone counselling and was seeing a psychologist and a life coach to get his life back on track.
"It's not something that men talk about too much, especially the mental health stuff," Lichaa told the court.
"But it's something I think is massive."
The court also heard that the charges prevented him being registered as a player with the NSWRL and he had since retired from rugby league.