The wife of a publican who punched her four times in the head as they travelled home from his mum's funeral is standing by her husband, a court heard.

David Shelmerdine, 41, called his wife a "retard" and grabbed her phone as she tried to call the police.

Officers later found her covered in blood when they attended the Sneyd Arms pub in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs, StokeLive reports.

Despite him assaulting her twice, Shelmerdine's wife is standing by him, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Ilana Davis said: "He was driving and started to kick off. He punched his wife four times to the head. They pulled over and the argument continued. He called her a 'k***head', a 'retard' and a 'f***ing retard'.

"She tried to call the police and he took the phone. Police were called by her and members of the public.

"Police attended their home and found her with blood on her face and top."

It emerged Shelmerdine also assaulted his wife in October 2019. He said it happened when he was drunk, losing his temper and slapping and punching her.

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They told regulars at the pub that she had fallen down the stairs.

Shelmerdine said he was "disgusted" with himself for beating his wife. He pleaded guilty to assault by beating, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and possessing an offensive weapon in public.

He was handed an 18-month community order which requires a 25-day rehabilitation activity requirement and 140 hours of unpaid work.

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Shelmerdine was warned he faces jail if he breaches the order.

His wife says she has forgiven her husband, telling the court: "That is not the person he is."

Jason Holt, defending, said his client had referred himself to counselling.

He added: "He is genuinely remorseful. Had it not been for his admissions in an interview then the assault occasioning actual bodily harm would not be before the court."

Holt went on: "He has not drunk since the August incident. He has stopped working the doors and they intend to move forward in new licensed premises."

Mr Holt added that the defendant was physically sick when he saw the photographs of the injuries he caused.

If you have been affected by issues of domestic violence or coercive control you can call Refuge's 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free. The number is 0808 2000 247.

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