close
close

Revealed: Smiling man who bit boy’s ear in viral World Snooker Championship video identified – and defends his actions

  • The bizarre moment went viral on social media after viewers voiced their concerns.
  • MailOnline can reveal an Italian holidaymaker has been identified as the culprit
  • The man defended his actions but deleted all his social media accounts

A man who was filmed biting a child’s ear during the World Snooker Championships was an Italian holidaymaker who defended the incident, MailOnline can reveal.

Stefano Voci, 43, a forklift driver, was seen biting and fondling the boy as Stephen Hendry gave an interview in a bizarre episode which caused widespread revulsion and sparked a police investigation.

And he then wrote a heartfelt post defending his actions as a normal way to express affection toward a loved one.

MailOnline has established that the child in the images is a relative of Voci’s – but we are not naming him.

The incident in Sheffield was investigated by South Yorkshire Police and announced earlier this week that the matter was “closed” and no further action would be taken.

A man (right) was seen biting a young boy’s ear in April during BBC snooker coverage.

MailOnline can reveal the man involved was forklift operator Stefano Voci (left), 43

We can now reveal the man in question was Italian national Voci who was visiting relatives in Sheffield from his home in Desio, near Milan, where he is also vice-president of the local blood donor group.

After the images began circulating in Italy last month, Voci took to social media and attempted to explain his actions on Facebook.

He writes: “There are many details to be provided but everything is in progress (sic). I was just someone who shared love and affection like anyone else, and was maliciously exposed.

His message then identified his relationship with the boy we are not reproducing, then he continued: “All photos are edited on social media, these photos are not mine, they are just put up to affect me…. No more. to hate.’

He then concludes: “My family is doing well and closer than ever, I don’t care that my face is all over social media with photomontages and fake messages.” Leave my family alone. God bless you all and wish you all the best.

He has since deleted all his accounts, as have several members of his family. But MailOnline discovered a post from him on his now-deleted Facebook page in which he attempts to explain his actions.

In the footage, the boy appeared unfazed as he noticed he could be seen on the live broadcast, then smiled and waved to the camera as the man backed away.

Voci (right) was visiting relatives in Sheffield from Italy and has since deleted all social media

Voci then apparently realized he was being recorded and broke out with a cheesy smile before shaking his head back and forth.

A police spokesperson said earlier this week: “After reviewing the video, officers determined that no crime had been committed and an investigation was launched.”

The video had garnered more than 12 million views and 58,000 likes by the following morning, with X users expressing their horror.

The footage was captured as seven-time champion Hendry discussed David Gilbert’s last 16 against Robert Milkins with Hazel Irvine.