Friends not guilty of assault

John Greatorex
John Greatorex

Former friends fell out when one exchanged flirty texts with the other’s partner, leading to violence, a jury heard.

A man apologised for 2-3 days of flirty text to his partner’s business colleague, but when her boyfriend came to see him about it blows were exchanged in his hallway in Bridlington, Hull Crown Court was told.

Paul Brown

Paul Brown

The man told the jury the incident had ended the partnership between the two women founders of the Kidz Fun Factory soft play café in Bessingby Way, Bridlington, after their boyfriends had fought amid mistrust.

He told the jury he had helped his partner when she first started the play café with her business partner and both couples had socialised before the texting last summer. “There were a few text messages exchanged between us, that were in a flirty sort of way,” the man told the jury. “That started everything. It was only 2-3 days that it was going on for. There were maybe 10 texts on the first day. Ten on the next.”

He said the texters had confessed to their partners and it had stopped and he had apologised to the man who had come to see him at his home in Bridlington. He said nothing had gone beyond texting.

John Greatorex, 31, of Vernon Road, and Paul Brown, 41, of Milner Road, were accused of assaulting the man in a revenge attack on 2 November 2014. Paul Brown denied being there and John Greatorex said he had acted in self defence and punched the man only once after he had taken a swipe at him.

The man told the jury he was taken aback to see John Greatorex on his door step. “I opened the door John was stood there on his own. He did not say anything. He just swung for me.

“He just turned round and cracked me on the side of the head. I saw he had something in his hand. It looked like a knuckle duster.”

Mr Greatorex denied having a knuckle duster and told police he had only punched the man once after he became violent because he told him his partner had been unfaithful. He said that sparked a reaction where the man “took a swipe” at him. He said he acted in lawful self defence.

Although his victim needed treatment at hospital for a cut under the eye, the law of self defence means defendants are not expected to measure the degree of force used to a nicety.

The man told the jury he had to move out to his aunties after the incident and his partners’ business arrangement at the play café had come to an end.

He said of his relationship: “It broke us both down. It took us 6-8 weeks to get back on speaking terms. I moved out to my aunties. She did not want to speak to me.”

A jury accepted both men were not guilty of a single charge of assault after a five-day trial at Hull Crown Court.