Back in November 2004, the BBC aired a program alleging that some members of British fathers rights group Fathers 4 Justice had been denied access to their children in part because they had a history of violence against their former spouses. At that time, Fathers 4 Justice founder Matthew O’Connor complained that the BBC’s Fiona Bruce had an axe to grind against the group because of her support of a domestic violence initiative.
In the first week of January, however, Fathers 4 Justice founder Matthew Mudge admitted that he was convicted in 1998 of two charges of assault against his wife, but added the he only hit his wife in self-defense.
Mudge has been the very high-profile spokesman of Fathers 4 Justice, which has pulled off a number of publicity stunts over the past couple years including throwing flour on Prime Minister Tony Blair. Mudge has talked about his own efforts to have access to his children following his divorce.
Of his assaults on his wife, one of which left her unconscious, the Western Mail reported,
Mr. Mudge told the court [in 1998] that after an Army party his wife accused him of looking at other women and would not stop hitting him. He told the court, “I had to defend myself. I hit her eight or nine times on her right arm to try to give her a dead arm to stop her.”
“Then she ran a bath and I only forced the door because she wasn’t answering me and I was concerned. She started hitting me again, I slapped her and she slumped to the floor.
You can almost see the credibility escaping Mudge’s body like a deflating balloon.
Welsh activist assaulted wife. Martin Shipton, ic Wales, January 5, 2005.
I hit my wife in self-defence, says fathers’ rights activist. Martin Shipton, Western Mail, January 5, 2005.