A CITY broker has been cleared of beating his wife and her male “friend” – because he thought the man was a burglar.
Fergus Clarkson was said to have launched his attack after catching Rebecca Clarkson with Thomas Slattery at the matrimonial home in Fulham, west London.
The 31-year-old maintained he only punched Mr Slattery once, believing he was a burglar who had jumped over their back fence.
Mrs Clarkson, who works for JP Morgan, had spent the evening in Notting Hill enjoying cocktails with Mr Slattery and friends on January 27, last year.
When Clarkson returned at 4am the next morning Mr Slattery ran into the garden and jumped over a fence to avoid a confrontation, it was said.
Clarkson and his wife began to argue in the house and when Mr Slattery came back over the fence he claimed he was struck by the broker.
He was convicted of two counts of assault by beating at Westminster Magistrates’ Court last April and sentenced to a 12 month community order, including 100 hours unpaid work.
But Judge Simon Davis sitting with magistrates at Isleworth Crown Court overturned the convictions after doubt was cast on the credibility of Mrs Clarkson’s evidence.
Mrs Clarkson told the hearing that she and her husband had been separated for two to three weeks at the time. The couple are now going through a divorce.
She described Mr Slattery as her “emotional friend” but said they were not in a “sexual relationship” at the time, and only became an item later.
They enjoyed dinner with two other friends at the Electric Diner in Notting Hill on the night of the incident.
Mrs Clarkson said four bottles of wine and a number of cocktails were ordered during the course of the dinner but most of it was drunk by two friends who were there with them.
The meal was paid for with her husband’s credit card and came to £358.50.
She said: “The only copy I had was a copy of his card because I am a housewife and I do not have an independent income.”
David Whittaker, defending, said: “He (Clarkson) had been at the property, he left without a bag.
“He could not stay at his mother’s because it was a building site.”
Mrs Clarkson replied: “His mother has numerous properties in London he could have stayed in.”
She claimed her husband punched her in the face, knocking her to the floor, before attacking Mr Slattery.
Mr Whittaker questioned her about an Instagram photo she posted after the assault that did not show her injuries.
She replied that she posted an old photo of herself in order to make herself feel better.
The court was told Mrs Clarkson was cautioned for assaulting her husband on October 28, 2014.
She explained: “That was self defence. They gave us both a caution but because he was not there I got the caution, I didn’t know what a caution was.”
Clarkson denied assaulting his wife but admitted punching Mr Slattery thinking he was a burglar.
He told his original trial: “I did hit him once after I asked him to leave. I just felt I had no choice, my son was upstairs. They were both very drunk.
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“I tried to take a step back and asked again for them to leave my house. They started towards me.”
The broker said he was left with bruising on his arms, scratches and ripped jumper.
Clarkson, of Fulham, denied assaulting by beating Mrs Clarkson and Mr Slattery – the convictions have now been overturned on appeal.
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