Lib Dem campaigner for battered women 'beat up her Tory husband suspecting he was having an affair'
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A Liberal Democrat councillor who campaigns for battered women beat up her Conservative husband when their own coalition turned sour, a court heard.
Christine James, 51, suspected husband Ian was having an affair with former mayoress Alison Cocks.
After having a row with him, grandmother James followed her husband to Miss Cocks' home where she let herself in and started 'screaming like banshee'.
The mother-of-five called Mr James a 'b*****d' and rained down several blows on him before storming out.
Mr James, who owns a cafe, was left with red marks around the chin and throat from the attack.
The couple are both councillors for
Despite representing different parties, they had been happily married for 19 years until this summer when Mr James suddenly left the marital home in
James, who has previously campaigned to keep open a refuge for battered women, suspected her husband was seeing Miss Cocks, the ex-partner of former mayor Tim Munro.
Elizabeth Valera, prosecuting, told magistrates in
'On this particular day they had both been to their grandchild's birthday party. Words were exchanged and the victim left the premises.
'He went to another address where he stayed with a friend. Later, he was in the kitchen having a conversation with this person when all of a sudden the front door opened and Mrs James came into the house.
'She came bursting through the kitchen door and he said "she ran straight towards me screaming like a banshee, saying you are a b*****d, what are you doing here?"
'He then said that she stood in front of him and "was swinging punches at me while I tried to stop her with my outreached arm."
'He said she connected blows to his chin, chest and arms on several occasions. He tried to hold her off and call the police on his mobile with the other hand.
'He said when she saw that she turned around and stormed out of the house shouting more abuse.'
Miss Cocks, 48, described James as being in a 'blind rage' at the time.
Blonde James, a driving instructor, pleaded guilty to a charge of assault by beating in relation to the attack which happened on August 15 this year.
The court heard she also has a previous conviction for battery involving slapping her 24-year-old daughter across the face in June this year.
Holly Huxtable, defending, said: 'This is an extremely regrettable case and it is very sad that 21 years together and 19 years of marriage has come to end in this way.
'Mr James had left the marital home shortly before this incident with no explanation.
'Mrs James was clearly aggrieved by that and didn't quite know why he had left and she wanted some answers. She would say there were rumours he was having an affair. She wanted to confirm this.
'She is very sorry for the incident. She accepts she was upset and angry. She knows full well that perhaps there was another way she could have dealt with this.'
Chairman of the bench Valerie Brinton gave James an 18-month conditional discharge.
She said: 'Violence in domestic circumstances is viewed particularly seriously by the court.'
James was also ordered to pay £200 costs.
Mr James, who attended the court, made a claim for compensation which was rejected by the magistrates