Wet Wet Wet star ordered to attend domestic abuse programme

The keyboard player from Scottish pop group Wet Wet Wet was today ordered to take part in a domestic violence programme after he admitted assaulting his girlfriend.

Kingston Crown Court heard that Neil Mitchell, 45, pushed and punched his partner during a drunken row at her home in Fulham, south west London, last July.



The court heard that Olivia Warren suffered a black eye and a bruised shoulder blade as a result of the attack.



The couple argued after they consumed three bottles of wine, said Jill Evans, mitigating.



She said Mitchell's behaviour was "out of character".



"He is a small man physically and he has always been seen as a gentle man," said Ms Evans.



"On this afternoon they had shared three bottles of wine. There was a disagreement, and as is characteristic of the defendant, he left to avoid it escalating.



"He realised he had left some items at the flat and went back to get them and because Miss Warren did not immediately give them to him there was an argument and that led to pushing and shoving.



"There is significant bruising but a significant amount of that came from falling against the furniture.



"He accepts that he punched a woman in the face and that is something that he is deeply ashamed of."



The 5ft 4in musician, who hit the charts with songs including Love Is All Around, Angel Eyes and Goodnight Girl, sought help from a psychotherapist after the incident.



Miss Warren had trouble sleeping and was prescribed Valium to help, said prosecutor James Edenborough.



Mitchell, of Cleveden Road, Glasgow, had earlier denied assaulting Miss Warren - causing actual bodily harm - but changed his plea.



The court in Surrey heard that the pair still hope to have a future together despite the attack.



Sentencing, Judge Shani Barnes handed him a two-year community order with the condition that he attends a domestic violence programme.



She said: "It is shameful that you should come before the courts at all - let alone for using such violence against your partner.



"I have no doubt that you are a mild-mannered gentle man by nature.



"Domestic violence is never acceptable, even if the young woman gave as good as she got, the injuries she sustained were far more impactful than anything she could have done to you."



Mitchell, who was wearing a dark suit, declined to comment as he left the court.