PHOTO: Daphne first met Michael Utting when he was a real estate agent for Property Brokers in Levin. FILE
According to STUFF a former All White who gained notoriety for both his alcohol-fuelled off-field antics and his relationships with a series of women is again courting controversy – this time over his involvement with an elderly woman who has paid him thousands of dollars from her pension.
Just a few weeks ago Michael Utting – who was an acclaimed goalkeeper at the peak of his sporting career in the early 2000s – made headlines after he suffered a heart attack and was saved by two autistic men who were in his care.
That publicity prompted the family of the elderly Horowhenua woman to speak out about their concerns over her relationship with Utting. She is 85. He is 53.
Pensioner and widow Daphne* (not her real name; Stuff is not identifying her for privacy reasons) and Utting have been “dear friends” for about 10 years. But Daphne’s family are deeply concerned about the friendship, particularly given Daphne’s frequently confused state. Daphne herself has acknowledged she struggles with forgetfulness and confusion, symptoms which have been apparent in several interactions with Stuff.
Her sister, who has been granted power of attorney over Daphne’s affairs, believes Utting has manipulated Daphne into making more than 170 payments to him over the last two years, while at times leaving her unable to pay her own bills.
Utting – who was inducted into the Wellington Football Hall of Fame in 2017 – has defended himself against the family’s accusations that he has ripped off Daphne. He describes himself as a “nice, giving person” who has a “wonderful … amazing relationship” with Daphne. He says she has helped him financially, lending him money when he’s been sick and unable to work, with no expectation of repayment. He describes the allegations against him as “a knife in my back”.