A WOMAN says she feels let-down after prosecutors dropped criminal charges against a man accused of assaulting her.

Jo Cooper was taken to hospital with a black eye and bruising to her face after an incident at a family party.

Her brother-in-law, Paul Cross, 44, of Capel Avenue, Peacehaven, denied one count of assault against her and was due to stand trial in a crown court.

But prosecutors dropped their case, saying conflicting statements would make it hard to challenge his claim that he was acting in self-defence.

Mrs Cooper, 45, from Portslade, said: “It’s unbelievable. “If it was serious enough to have a charge then surely it is serious enough to proceed through court.

“The police are promoting the whole time how they are trying to reduce domestic violence.

“I was in hospital until about three in the morning and then I just did not go out of the house for about four weeks.

“The doctor said he could not believe what he had seen.”

Mrs Cooper and her parents said they felt police had handled the initial investigation at the scene badly, by not getting statements from everyone possible.

Police at first arrested Mrs Cooper on suspicion of assaulting Mr Cross but dropped that “when the facts became clearer” and arrested him instead.

Sussex Police said officers attending the scene were “led to believe” Mrs Cooper was the assailant and she was too “intoxicated” to give a clear account herself.

Inspector Rob Lovell added: “It is not clear whether if the man had initially been identified as the suspect by those at the scene, the case would have progressed to Crown Court, but we respect our CPS colleagues’ decision to discontinue it.”

Mrs Cooper’s mother, Lea Mylton-Thorley, who was at the party, said: “We did not get a chance [to talk to police].

“They took an hour to get ambulance and police there.”

“They went straight into him and they did not have any interest in anybody else.”

Referring to the CPS decision to drop the case, she added: “I am disgusted. And it is a woman as well – I am even more disgusted.

“If that was your daughter, how would you feel?”

The family is complaining both to the police and to the CPS.

Mr Cross declined to comment.