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Sydney surgeon's wife says she was victim of financial abuse by husband she alleges attacked her

A top Sydney neurosurgeon’s wife who claims physical and financial spousal abuse was paid $24,000 a month by her husband, a court has heard.

Emma Steel accuses her husband Dr Timothy Steel of kicking, punching and slapping her after he came home heavily intoxicated early one morning last year.

The former model alleges her husband had been with a woman with whom he was having an affair that evening and was ‘on cocaine all night’.

The 41-year-old also claims she was the victim of ongoing financial abuse.

Dr Steel is facing charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault and damaging property in Downing Centre Local Court.

Experienced St Vincent's Hospital spinal and neurosurgeon Dr Timothy Steel pictured outside court on Tuesday. He allegedly kicked, punched and slapped his wife Emma Steel after he came home heavily intoxicated on December 14 last year

Experienced St Vincent’s Hospital spinal and neurosurgeon Dr Timothy Steel pictured outside court on Tuesday. He allegedly kicked, punched and slapped his wife Emma Steel after he came home heavily intoxicated on December 14 last year

Dr Tim Steel's wife Emma also claims she was the victim of ongoing financial abuse. She is pictured centre alongside Roxy Jacenko (left) and another friend (right) at a social event

Dr Tim Steel’s wife Emma also claims she was the victim of ongoing financial abuse. She is pictured centre alongside Roxy Jacenko (left) and another friend (right) at a social event

The 56-year-old surgeon denies attacking his wife of 11 years or submitting her to financial abuse.

Mrs Steel told the court on Tuesday her husband gave her $10,000 a month for personal expenses and up to $14,000 to run their household.

The second sum covered a nanny’s wages but did not go towards bills such as rates or utilities.

The court heard in total Mrs Steel received $175,902 in regular payment over seven months last year as well as an extra $30,902 for household expenses.

Dr Steel’s solicitor Paul McGirr said it was ‘farcical’ under those circumstances for Mrs Steel to claim financial abuse.

‘I was living within our means of a four to six million annual salary,’ she said.

‘I was spending five per cent of our annual income.’

Pictured: Dr Steel, a senior neurosurgeon and spine surgeon at St Vincent's Hospital

Pictured: Dr Steel, a senior neurosurgeon and spine surgeon at St Vincent’s Hospital

Video footage of Mrs Steel in a police interview following the alleged domestic violence has been played to the court.

Mrs Steel can be seen walking through the couple’s Bellevue Hill home describing the assault she says occurred on December 14 after Dr Steel returned home between 4.30am and 6am.

The couple had been due to dine that day at a well-known Rose Bay restaurant.

‘I said to him, “Tim we’re not going to be able to go to lunch with our neighbours at Catalina,”‘ Mrs Steel said.

‘I was trying to talk to him and getting no response.’

Dr Steel then allegedly attacked his wife, assaulting her four times, pinning her down and ripping her hair extensions out.

After wrestling her mobile phone out of her grip he ran outside and jumped into the backyard pool, submerging the device.

‘I’m petrified because of the ongoing abuse,’ Mrs Steel told police.

‘There’s also been financial abuse… If I don’t sign a post-nup our marriage is over.’

Mr McGirr said Mrs Steel had lashed out at her husband after he spent the night in a hotel room with his receptionist.

‘You woke him up then clawed him with your nails,’ he said.

But Ms Steel said the red scratch marks across Steel’s body shown in photographs were inflicted in her self-defence.

On the morning of the alleged assault, Dr Steel – a senior neurosurgeon and spine surgeon at St Vincent’s Hospital – had spent the night in a hotel room with two women – his receptionist and personal assistant.

Dr Steel outside court on Tuesday.  He allegedly pinned his wife down and ripped her hair extensions out

Dr Steel outside court on Tuesday.  He allegedly pinned his wife down and ripped her hair extensions out

Dr Steel is seen leaving Downing Centre District Court during a break in proceedings on Tuesday

Dr Steel is seen leaving Downing Centre District Court during a break in proceedings on Tuesday

‘He should have stayed in the hotel. I didn’t want the kids to see him like that,’ Mrs Steel said.

Mrs Steel had known her husband’s whereabouts by looking up his location using the family iPad synced to his mobile phone.

‘I wasn’t angry. I knew there was an affair going on. I had already caught them out,’ she said.

Mrs Steel said her husband had controlled her life and the couple’s finances.

‘Throughout my marriage I have been very controlled, not allowed to go out when I would like to go out,’ she said.

‘I’m not allowed to live my life under my rules.

‘It’s always been under Tim’s rules.’

Mr McGirr asked Mrs Steel if Dr Steel had paid her $175,902 between June 1 and December 31 last year.

‘I don’t know the exact amounts,’ she said.

‘My husband Dr Steel earns between four to six million each year.’

Mr McGirr then asked if Mrs Steel had received an additional $30,902 over the same period.

‘I wouldn’t know any amounts,’ she said.

Dr Steel is one of Australia's leading neurosurgeons. His wife alleges he would reduce his payments to her if he was unhappy with her

Dr Steel is one of Australia’s leading neurosurgeons. His wife alleges he would reduce his payments to her if he was unhappy with her

Mrs Steel insisted she had been the victim of financial abuse and that her husband reduced the payments if he was unhappy with her.

‘I would send him a text message begging him to put the regular amount which was ($2,500) a week,’ she said.

‘The payments were going in regularly. He was just changing the payments.

‘He would just decrease them if I didn’t do what he said.

‘I was bribed, Mr McGirr. I was bribed. I was a puppet.’

Emma Steel (centre) pictured at a Christmas lunch at the Sydney Children’s Hospital Silver Committee in 2014

Emma Steel (centre) pictured at a Christmas lunch at the Sydney Children’s Hospital Silver Committee in 2014

Mr McGirr questioned why Mrs Steele could not survive off an allowance of $24,000 a month from her husband.

Mrs Steel said she would have to ask for further funds from her husband such as $2,500 to buy Christmas presents.

‘A lot of the time he would say that’s your budget and you have to live within your means,’ she said.

‘He would use the term advance – he would “advance” me.’

Mr McGirr asked Mrs Steel if her husband had deposited $1million into her superannuation account in 2017.

‘I haven’t checked my super account,’ she said.

‘I don’t know what’s in my super account. I could log in and have a look. I don’t know.’

Dr Steel allegedly launched an attack on his wife, (pictured), assaulting her four times as he wrestled her mobile phone out of her grip

Dr Steel allegedly launched an attack on his wife, (pictured), assaulting her four times as he wrestled her mobile phone out of her grip

Asked what evidence she had of her husband having an affair she said he had cancelled a date night to attend a Christmas party with his secretary.

She had never seen them together ‘kissing or being intimate’.

‘I’ve seen text messages between the two of them and I’d heard conversations between them,’ she said.

Mrs Steel denied having told her husband she had hired a private investigator to follow him.

On that night of the alleged assault Mrs Steel said in a Triple Zero call her husband had been ‘on cocaine all night’.

Under cross-examination she said she had never actually seen Dr Steel use the drug.

The hearing continues.

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Written by Angle News

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