Axminster assault was captured on CCTV

PUBLISHED: 13:15 17 February 2010 | UPDATED: 00:57 16 June 2010

AN Axminster man caught slapping his partner on CCTV did it because he thought she was flirting with another man, a court heard.

AN Axminster man caught slapping his partner on CCTV did it because he thought she was flirting with another man, a court heard.

Andrew Joseph Sullivan, 42, assaulted Laura Murphy outside the Castle Inn on November 10.

The court heard Miss Murphy went out for a cigarette and Sullivan, who had been drinking heavily, followed her.

He then asked her to hold his drink and slapped her - with the whole incident captured on camera.

He said she had been flirting with a "big body-building bloke" and that was why she got a slap.

He was arrested but told police "no comment". Miss Murphy was not injured and did not want to issue a formal complaint.

The court was told the couple, who have a young child together, had been going through a separation at that point, but have since reconciled.

Sullivan, of Foxhill, represented himself and said: "A lot of stuff is 100 per cent correct. But I didn't ask Miss Murphy to hold the drink. The man wasn't a body-builder, just a very tall man.

"I know I slapped my girlfriend and we were talking about separating, but we haven't. We haven't had an argument for a very long time and we look after each other very well."

Sullivan said he had been celebrating his birthday that evening and had been drinking hot toddies with brandy and whisky.

He said he has since realised Miss Murphy had not been flirting with the man and what he had done was wrong.

Sullivan added: "I don't agree with people who beat up women whatsoever."

The chairman of the bench said: "We want to keep the situation under review and make sure everything is going well."

Sullivan was given a conditional discharge for two years and ordered to pay £85 in costs.

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