The new man in McLaughlin’s life is retired British soccer player Ashley Westwood, 40, who had a career playing for third-tier English football division clubs including Crewe Alexandra and Bradford City until 2012.
He moved on to coaching duties in India and it was while working in that capacity in late 2015 that Westwood met McLaughlin, who was working briefly as a soccer commentator at Star TV and living at the same Mumbai hotel as Westwood and his then pregnant wife Huma.Westwood, who has been unemployed since March when his contract as head coach of Malaysian Super League team Penang was cancelled by mutual consent, has five children by three women.
According to friends of the Westwoods, wife Huma, a juvenile probations officer in Northampton, recently filed for divorce.Westwood yesterday denied his relationship with McLaughlin began while his wife was pregnant. “I have been separated from my second wife since early 2016 and we are going through divorce proceedings,” he said.
“I started seeing Mel last year after the breakdown of my marriage. We’re very happy.”Sources say police believe some of the “dozens” of telephone threats made to a Seven mobile in McLaughlin’s possession may have been intended for Westwood.Rattled by a break-in at her apartment earlier this year, McLaughlin has since moved out of her home. She did not wish to comment when contacted yesterday.
News of the stalking investigation comes days after an unrelated incident in which the TV host was publicly insulted at a Sydney bar as tempers flared during A-League grand final celebrations last Sunday.Westwood and local soccer commentator and retired Sydney FC player Mark Rudan clashed heatedly outside Frankie’s Pizza Bar on Hunter St in the early hours after the match.Fox Sports commentator Rudan was allegedly assaulted by an unnamed 18-year-old as he and a group arrived at the bar at the same time McLaughlin and her boyfriend were leaving.Witnesses have said the two men started exchanging angry insults — Rudan allegedly shouting crude abuse at McLaughlin — before bouncers stepped in and police arrived, although officers did not take statements.The argument between Westwood and Rudan had begun earlier in the evening at The Clock Hotel in Surry Hills where 41-year-old Rudan had been drinking with Fox Sports colleagues.While McLaughlin, a Fox Sports presenter from 2007 to 2013, remained downstairs, Westwood went upstairs and had an argument with Rudan, angrily demanding he “take a walk outside” with him, which Rudan declined to do.Rudan, who is married to childhood sweetheart Sylvia, with whom he has children, refused to comment about the alterca