A man has defied a court order to marry the victim of his domestic abuse.
Nick Fitzpatrick wed Joanne MacKenzie in May while he was subject to a year-long non-harassment order (NHO) banning him from contacting her.
Police found out about his breach of the ban after he posted a picture of their wedding on Facebook and friends congratulated the couple.
Detectives went to the Registry Office in West Lothian Civic Centre – in the same building as the court where he admitted the domestic assault – and got the pair’s wedding certificate.
Fitzpatrick was arrested, pleaded guilty at Livingston Sheriff Court to breaching the NHO and was remanded in custody for a fortnight.
Last week he was freed, after a second allegation that he defied the NHO was withdrawn by the prosecution.
Bail conditions preventing him from approaching or contacting Ms MacKenzie, 20, and entering Fauldhouse, West Lothian, where she lives, were dropped.
But Fitzpatrick, 25, from West Calder, West Lothian, was warned to steer clear of her for another three weeks until the NHO ends on 21 September.
Fitzpatrick insisted they had not been seeing each other since the wedding and claimed he would now comply with the ban until it runs out.
He said: “I need to wait until the non-harassment order is over so I can be with my wife. It’s as simple as that.
“I got married to her when I wasn’t meant to be near her. But I’m not passing up the chance to be with the love of my life.
“At the end of the day I want to be with her for the rest of my life. Once this is all over we’ll probably have a family. Until then we’ll need to wait.”
Ms MacKenzie, who was in court to hear Fitzpatrick’s lawyer plead for him to be given another chance, tried to talk to him when he was released from the cells but was prevented by his lawyer and social workers.
She then hid behind a hedge outside the building in a desperate bid to see him but eventually gave up and went home.
She claimed she had no regrets about marrying him even though he attacked her and said she was now counting the days until they could be together again.
Fitzpatrick has been ordered to return to court in December to be sentenced for breaching the NHO by marrying Ms MacKenzie.