US Marine accused of massage parlour assault

LAWYERS for a United States Marine who allegedly assaul­ted a massage parlour boss have accused the woman of fabricating a story and stealing the ­defendant’s phone in a bid to ensure she got paid.

Matthew Mueller denied allegations he threw Qin “Linda” Zhang to the ground at Pinnacle Massage, on Cavenagh St, in Darwin.

Defence lawyer Tom Berkley said the alleged victim had slipped over as she attempted to run away with his client’s phone during a reported dispute over payment for services.

“I put to you that he wasn’t asking for a refund – he was saying he had already paid and you wanted him to pay again,” he told Ms Zhang. “You took the phone from him ... to make sure you got payment.”

Ms Zhang gave evidence she picked up the mobile phone from a massage room floor after staff summoned her from nearby Nikko Massage to deal with a dispute about 2am on September 20, 2015.

Mueller had been unhappy with his first massage and switched girls, prosecutor Ian Rowbottam said.

Ms Zhang, through a Mandarin inter­preter, told Darwin Magistrate Elizabeth Morris that Mueller demanded a refund as she tried to explain his card had been declined.

She said he demanded she give back his phone, and gave evidence he was verbally abusive before he allegedly grabbed her and threw her to the ground – twice – where she banged her head.

Mr Berkley said: “I suggest to you the only time you hit the ground was when you fell over.”

Ms Zhang said she ran back to Nikko Massage and gave Mueller’s phone to police ­because she wanted them “to catch the guy who hurt me”.

Witness Ying-Yu “Zoe” Chen gave evidence she had seen the alleged assaults.

whatever happened, the message is clear: if it's a Marine's word vs a sex worker,...