Innocent councillor speaks of court case horror

Coun Steve Murfitt

Coun Steve Murfitt

A councillor has spoken of his ordeal after jurors cleared him of allegations he attacked his ex-partner by thrusting a cup of tea into her face.

Coun Steve Murfitt, 56, of Pear Tree Road, Clayton-le-Woods, Chorley, had denied causing actual bodily harm and assault.

The Clayton-le-Woods North councillor, who was put in a police van in front of his colleagues following a meeting in January, today called for authorities to look at how they handle domestic abuse allegations.

He said: “These (domestic) measures came in through the bravery and courage of thousands of genuine victims.

“It is paramount these measures remain to protect thousands more potential victims of abuse, both female and male. But it’s worthy of discussion people who abuse the system should be prosecuted.”

He said such cases were a “huge waste of overstretched resources”.

He revealed after his arrest he was bailed and banned from returning to his home for six months, leaving him with rent arrears.

But the politician, who says his mental wellbeing was affected by the proceedings, says he has tried to make something positive of his experience, co-designing a community group for men focusing on mental health awareness and building resilience.

He said: “Being charged, excluded from my home, and suspended by my political group, having to stand down as a trustee of a charity, the strain with family members, all made significant demands on my own mental health. People have a tendency to say ‘mud sticks and ‘there is no smoke without fire.’ Going to the Crown Court I believe was the best possible way to wash all the mud off.”