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Revealed: Grinning man who nibbled on boy’s ear in viral World Championship Snooker video is identified – and defends his actions

  • The strange moment went viral on social media after viewers raised their concerns
  • MailOnline can reveal that a holidaymaker from Italy has been identified as the perpetrator
  • The man has defended his actions but has deleted all his social media accounts

A man caught on camera nibbling a child’s ear during the World Snooker Championships was an Italian holidaymaker who has defended the incident, MailOnline can reveal.

Forklift driver Stefano Voci, 43, was seen biting and sniffing the boy as Stephen Hendry gave an interview in a bizarre episode that caused widespread disgust and prompted a police investigation.

And later he wrote a heartfelt post defending his actions as a normal means of expressing affection for a loved one.

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

The incident in Sheffield was investigated by South Yorkshire Police and earlier this week they announced the case was ‘closed’ and no further action would be taken.

MailOnline can reveal that the man involved was Stefano Voci (left), 43, a forklift driver

MailOnline can reveal that the man involved was Stefano Voci (left), 43, a forklift driver

Now we can reveal that 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 tried to explain his actions on Facebook.

He wrote: ‘There are many clarifications to be made but everything is in progress (sic). I was just someone who shared love and affection like anyone else, and that was maliciously exposed.”

His message went on to identify his relationship with the boy, which we are not reproducing, and then continued: ‘All photos are edited on social networks, those photos are not mine, they only set this up to influence me …. No more hating it.”

It then concludes, “My family is fine and closer than ever, I don’t care if my face is all over social media with photo montages and fake posts. Just leave my family alone. God bless you all and best wishes to you all.”

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

In the footage, the boy appeared unfazed as he noticed he was featured during the live broadcast, before smiling and waving at the camera as the man retreated.

Voci then apparently realized he was being recorded and broke into a goofy grin before bobbing his head back and forth.

A police spokesperson said earlier this week: ‘Following a review of the video, officers determined no crime had been committed and investigations have begun.’

The video had been viewed more than 12 million times and liked 58,000 times by the next morning, with X users expressing their disgust.

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

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