Oh dear, the telephone puts poor Rod on the hook again

The broadcaster and writer Rod Liddle has become embroiled in another spot of trouble involving women and telephones, collecting a police caution after officers were called to his home following a heated domestic dispute.

The broadcaster and writer Rod Liddle has become embroiled in another spot of trouble involving women and telephones, collecting a police caution after officers were called to his home following a heated domestic dispute.

Liddle, the former editor of the BBC Today programme, was held by police for five hours after a furious row with Alicia Monckton, the 23-year-old for whom he left his wife, after she discovered their text messages.

Liddle was arrested after he and Monckton, who are expecting a baby in September, had the bust-up at their London home on Thursday afternoon. This ended in his girlfriend phoning 999.

Although she hung up before anyone answered, the police traced the call and turned up an hour later. By then, the row had subsided and Monckton told the police that there was nothing to worry about.

The police disagreed and took Liddle, who at 45 is 22 years Monckton's senior, to a south London police station where, after five hours, he agreed to accept a caution for common assault.

However, a furious Liddle, now an associate editor at The Spectator - where he met Monckton - has told The Independent on Sunday that he regretted accepting a caution. "I'm so furious and upset about it," he said. "If I'd had enough spine I would have said no to the caution. They couldn't have charged me."

The row, Liddle admitted, had been explosive - but he denied hitting Monckton. "We had this row and we were shouting at each other. I said, 'Well, phone the police', and she said she would. I thought she was only joking. She didn't talk to them, just hung up. An hour later the coppers got here. She begged them to go away, but they wouldn't."

Monckton confirmed that she hadn't been hurt. "There was a physical struggle with a suitcase, but he didn't hit me," she said. Liddle and Monckton have been living together since their affair was revealed last summer, shortly after he had married Rachel Royce, the mother of his two sons. Royce subsequently used the pages of the Daily Mail to describe in intimate detail how she checked his restaurant receipts, phone messages and even followed him after she suspected him. Royce said yesterday that Monckton "obviously sounds slightly unstable".

Liddle was held under new domestic violence guidelines in which suspects are questioned whether there has been a complaint or not.

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