Shamed Edinburgh police sergeant gave himself black eye and claimed his wife had assaulted him

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A police sergeant punched himself in the face and headbutted his front door then claimed he had been assaulted by his wife.

Barry Murphy was in police uniform and heading to start a shift when a row broke out with his estranged wife at their home in Dunfermline.

Murphy, a policeman for 14 years based in Edinburgh, gave himself a black eye then tried to blame his wife, whining, “I can’t believe you just punched me” and “I’m so scared”.

His wife had called the police and Murphy was apparently trying to put his assault claim on to the recorded call.

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However, Murphy’s plan to frame his wife backfired. A 16-year-old who was present recorded him on a mobile phone which showed him to be putting on a show of ham-acting.

Murphy has been found guilty of three offences - including assaulting his wife - after a trial at Dunfermline Sheriff Court.

A charge of wasting police time was dropped because even though Murphy did phone the police to report the alleged assault, officers were already on their way answering an initial 999 call from his wife.

Instead of going to start his shift at Corstorphine, Murphy was arrested and taken to Kirkcaldy police station.

In a previous incident, when Murphy had moved out of the family home, he returned unexpectedly late at night, entered by the back door and found another man there with his wife.

The man, another police officer, Ian Arthur, now in a relationship with Mrs Murphy, ran from the house and was chased down the road for half a mile by Murphy who was repeatedly shouting “I’ll f****** kill you”.

'Mean and nasty' during marriage

Murphy, 40, now of New Swanson Estate in Edinburgh, was convicted of three charges arising from separate incidents at his then home in Dunfermline.

On an occasion between January 1st and December 31st, 2015 at Bennachie Way, he assaulted his wife Sheryl Murphy by seizing her head, pushing her on to a bed and struggling violently with her.

On February 24th at Bennachie Way, he behaved in a threatening or abusive manner by shouting at Sheryl Murphy and at Ian Arthur, behaved aggressively, made threats of violence to them, stood in front of a car being driven by Mrs Murphy, refused to desist for a lengthy period and prevented her from leaving.

On April 10th at Bennachie Way, he behaved in a threatening or abusive manner by shouting at Sheryl Murphy and acting aggressively, all in the presence of a 16-year-old, placing them in a state of fear, alarm and distress.

The 16-year-old who recorded part of the front door incident on her phone, told the court, “He headbutted the door and then punched himself twice on the face. He punched himself really hard on the right eye. I put on my camera and started recording it.”

Sheryl Murphy, 35, now using her maiden name Higgins, told the court Murphy was “mean and nasty” to her during their marriage.

She said: “He headbutted the door twice and then punched himself twice in the face. I was in shock that somebody would do that.

“He then started to say, ‘I can’t believe you’ve hit me’.”

Mrs Murphy phoned 999 to report that her husband was self-harming and he was arrested when officers arrived at the house.

The mobile phone footage was shown in court several times during the four-day trial.

Murphy said he felt “uncomfortable” when he viewed it.

It shows him pretending to be crying and whining after being assaulted by his wife. However, his facial expression remains calm and he is apparently sending a message on his phone as he continues to moan.

On the video Murphy says, “I can’t believe you just punched me on the face, I can’t believe it. Sheryl you just hit me. I can’t believe you just hit me.”

A female voice is heard saying, “You’re mental. You’re delusional.”

Murphy then starts saying, “I’m getting so scared. I’m so scared. I’m so scared.”

'Liar and Control Freak'

During cross-examination, depute fiscal Azrah Yousaf said to Murphy: “It’s a bit pathetic isn’t it, you wailing like that. Why were you scared of a 16- year-old, you are an experienced police officer?

“It’s all an act on your part. You weren’t hit, you punched yourself for effect."

She added, “You’re nothing but a liar and a control freak. You’re trying to refute these allegations because they would cost you your job.”

Murphy denied this and also claimed he would never hit a woman.

However, Sheriff Charles MacNair said Murphy’s “bizarre” behaviour in the video helped him form a view about who was telling the truth about the incident.

Sheriff MacNair called for reports including an assessment for a restriction of liberty order. Murphy will be sentenced on December 11th and the imposition of a non-harassment order will also be considered then.