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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 November 2005, 17:19 GMT
Darts champion cleared of assault
Eric Bristow
Mr Bristow was made an MBE in 1989
Former world darts champion Eric Bristow has been cleared of attacking his wife at their Staffordshire home.

Mr Bristow, 48, a five-times champion, was accused of punching wife Jane in the face during a drunken row at their home in Leek on 29 April.

She told Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates' Court she suffered a bloodied nose.

Speaking outside court, Mr Bristow said he wanted to "get on with my life and look after my kids".

Furious row

The former champion, made an MBE in 1989, had denied a common assault charge.

Mrs Bristow, who has since started divorce proceedings, told justices that she was in bed when she heard her "very, very drunk" husband come home just before midnight.

They struggled when he demanded her car keys and mobile phone from her handbag, she said.

Giving evidence, Mr Bristow admitted he had had a furious row with his wife, but said the allegation that he attacked her had been made up so that she would be granted a quick divorce.

He told the court he had drunk about seven pints of Guinness that evening and was "merry" but denied claims that he was drunk.

'Never confident'

The children, Mr Bristow said after the hearing, are now living with him at his mother's house in Leek.

The former champion said he bore no malice towards his wife.

He added: "She has got a boyfriend and she just wanted a divorce.

"The kids told me she had a boyfriend 18 months ago and I did not believe them.

"You are never confident in court cases. You just don't know what is going to happen.

"I would rather play on TV in front of millions than be in there."

Magistrate Eric Bradley had told the sportsman: "The allegation of common assault has not been proved to the criminal standard."

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