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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 November 2005, 14:43 GMT
Ex-darts champion 'punched wife'
Eric Bristow
Mr Bristow was "very, very drunk", the court heard
Former world darts champion Eric Bristow punched his wife in the face during a drunken row in the bedroom of their family home, a court has heard.

Mr Bristow, 48, left his wife Jane, 43, with a bloodied nose in the attack in Leek, Staffordshire, on 29 April last year, she told magistrates.

Prosecutor Milena Srdanovic said he tried to wrench a handbag from her.

Mr Bristow, who appeared at Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates' Court, denies a common assault charge.

Mrs Bristow, who has started divorce proceedings, was in bed at the family home when she heard her "very, very drunk" husband come home just before midnight, the court was told.

'Very loud'

She had been to her uncle's funeral in the North East on the day of the attack.

"He came straight upstairs into the bedroom and put the light on," she told the court.

"I knew he had been out in the pubs from tea-time that night. He was very loud.

"I have been married [to him] for 16 years and I just knew he was drunk."

Mrs Bristow said she may have pretended to have been asleep in order to avoid further confrontation with her husband.

"Eric picked up my handbag and I presumed he was looking for my car keys because he used to threaten to take my car keys off me," she said.

Nose 'bleeding'

"I tried to grab my bag and I just remember him punching me in the face. My nose started bleeding heavily.

"He was asking where I'd been, why I had got home so late from the funeral and he just called me an effing liar."

Paul Cliff, defending, accused Mrs Bristow of inventing the assault allegation in order to keep the family's home in Mill Town Way and to speed up her separation from the darts star.

"Not at all, no way," she said.

"I wouldn't be stood here now if he had not hit me."

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