A police detective accused of assaulting his wife by pushing her to the ground today claimed he was acting in self-defence because he feared she would attack him.
Dorset Police Detective Constable David Alway alleged that partner Tamsyn Alway had punched him in the face during a previous incident at their Bournemouth home.
The 41-year-old told a court he felt ‘threatened’ and feared being hit again, so reacted by pushing her ‘fairly hard’.
Ms Alway then ‘stumbled backwards’ and fell towards the edge of the patio, the court heard.
She suffered injuries to her head and hand during the incident, on December 13, 2019.
Detective Constable Alway, who denies assault causing actual bodily harm, is currently on trial at Southampton Crown Court.
Detective Constable Alway, who denies assault causing actual bodily harm, is currently on trial at Southampton Crown Court
Jury members today heard that the couple had been married for five years but had separated earlier in June 2019.
The pair were still living in the same house but sleeping in separate bedrooms.
Giving evidence, Alway said his wife had punched him during a previous row in July of that year.
Alway said the row erupted after he confronted her after looking at her phone and finding out she was seeing someone else.
He said: ‘Tamsyn doesn’t say a word to me, just walks out of the bathroom and punches me in the face.
‘It was certainly hard enough to cause me pain and turn back in shock and made me jolt my head backwards.
‘My instant reaction is ‘I do not want to be hit again’, I felt the attack was completely unprovoked so I pushed her away.’
He said he then held her against the wall in a bid to ‘calm the situation down’.
Alway said the December argument, for which he is on trial, arose after he had returned from a work Christmas party and a conversation about the divorce turned into an argument.
He admitted slamming her bedroom door before the row continued in the kitchen.
Alway said she became angry as she looked for their dogs which he had just let out into the garden.
The detective constable, who previously lived in Bath, said: ‘She is very irate about where are the dogs, I can clearly hear her saying she hates me, she wants to kill me, I am feeling very threatened at this point.
‘My instant reaction from where she walked up to me because of the previous incident is to put my hands up and push her away.’
He continued: ‘I did not push her with my full force, there is no point pushing her extremely lightly as it wouldn’t achieve what I wanted, so I pushed her fairly hard with what I thought would get her to step away from me.
‘Tamsyn stumbled backwards, then she had fallen towards the edge of the patio.
‘I have heard a crying pain, she has got up fairly immediately, I took from that it wasn’t a serious injury. I didn’t want the situation to escalate, so I have left.’
Detective Sergeant Mark Portelli, who was the defendant’s line manager at Dorset Police (pictured: Dorset Police Headquarters), said that he was informed of the allegation on December 17 and shortly afterwards Alway asked to have a private word with him
He added: ‘I do not think she wants to be spiteful but I think she is confused about what happened, it all happened so quickly, she has taken a bump to the head and can’t remember very well.
‘The circumstances were that I was concerned she was just about to assault me so I reacted by pushing her away.’
The court had previously heard how Simon Storr, a friend of Mrs Alway, was on a video call with her when the row erupted.
Mr Storr said: ‘He (Alway) came to Tamsyn’s room, the conversation between them was unsettled, it was getting a bit heated.
‘Tamsyn was saying ‘You can’t just come into my room, can you please close the door, I am on the phone with someone’.
‘He did leave the room, the door was slammed loudly, she was surprised and shouted ‘What the f***’.’
Mr Storr continued: ‘I said ‘Are you OK? Is everything OK?’, she was upset at the door being slammed as the mirror had come off the wall.
‘I asked her to get her belongings and leave the house, she was upset.’
He added: ‘Tamsyn was hysterical when things were getting out of control.’
Mr Storr said he organised an Uber taxi to pick her up and when she arrived at his home, he said she was ‘very distressed’.
He said that Mrs Alway had an injury to her hand and a ‘large lump on her head’ which she said had happened as she was pushed into the garden as she went to bring her dogs inside.
Detective Sergeant Mark Portelli, who was the defendant’s line manager at Dorset Police, said that he was informed of the allegation on December 17 and shortly afterwards Alway asked to have a private word with him.
Mr Portelli said that Alway told him of the incident, saying: ‘When I got home from my night out, Tamsyn and I had a row, I pushed her and she fell to the ground and hurt her wrist.
‘I thought it was a minor injury but now she is saying she has fractured her wrist, she is now saying she wants me to move out of the house.’
Mr Portelli said Alway was ‘very emotional, very teary, very upset’.
He said the defendant was arrested shortly afterwards to be interviewed about the allegation.
A Dorset Police spokesman said that Alway had been placed on restricted duties following the allegation.
Alway denies the charge and the trial continues.