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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 February 2007, 16:41 GMT
Sailors 'caught in drunken brawl'
Portsmouth Naval Base
Portsmouth Naval Base, where the court martial is being held
A Royal Navy officer and a rating were caught on CCTV cameras in a drunken brawl, a court martial was told.

Lt Adele Marie Frith and Leading Airman Carol Anne Morton, 32, threw punches at each other in Yeovil town centre.

The hearing at Portsmouth Naval Base, Hampshire, heard Lt Frith, 32, based on the city's HMS Ark Royal, alleged she was called a paedophile last February.

Morton later alleged Frith attacked her. Both deny a charge of fighting contrary to the Naval Discipline Act.

The charges followed a five-month Royal Navy investigation.

Morton is stationed at Northwood Joint Service Unit in Middlesex.

The group visited a number of public houses through the day consuming a large amount of alcohol in the process
Lt Commander Jonny Weare, prosecuting

Lt Commander Jonny Weare, prosecuting, said: "On the 11 February, Lt Frith, Morton and Petty Officer Dryhurst went out together in Yeovil town centre.

All three were staying at Petty Officer Dryhurst's house in the local area, the court martial heard.

"They had stayed there the previous night as well," Lt Commander Weare added.

"The group arrived in Yeovil at around 1500 GMT and visited a number of public houses through the day consuming a large amount of alcohol in the process.

"That evening a verbal disagreement commenced between Frith and Morton.

"This was outside a public house named Woods Wine Bar.

'Smell of intoxicating liqueur'

"It commenced with a protracted verbal disagreement which continued for 25 minutes as Frith, Morton and Dryhurst walked through Yeovil town centre."

He added that Frith "appeared to have initiated the argument which then descended into violence as Morton hit Lt Frith in the face and pushed her at least twice".

Det Con Catherine King, of Avon and Somerset Police, who was on duty that Saturday night with two colleagues, told the court martial when she spoke to Lt Frith she "did smell of intoxicating liqueur".

"She appeared tearful and she spoke quite quickly," she said.

"I formed the opinion she was drunk and upset.

"She [Frith] stated that she had been called a paedophile and she stated that repeatedly."

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