A man who says a councillor punched him in the face told how he never threatened to “tear his face off” just months before - despite video evidence telling a different story.

Southend councillor Tony Cox, 39, is accused of assaulting Jamie Waterfield, and causing him actual bodily harm by busting his lip on May 20 last year.

The court heard how a row broke out between the men after Mr Cox discovered a “Die” threat on his front door and had accused Mr Waterfield of writing it.

Mr Waterfield took the stand at Basildon Crown Court yesterday to give evidence about the incident in a communal landing in a block of flats where he and Mr Cox live.

Mr Waterfield told the court he had previously had a “good” relationship with his neighbour.

He added: “The day before, I wouldn’t say it was strained but we left each other to our own devices. I had never had an argument with him before. I would say he has annoyed me, but not to the extent where I would waste even a minute of my time thinking about it.”

Defence barrister Paul Jones asked Mr Waterfield directly: “Have you ever said to him ‘I will tear your f**king face off?”

Mr Waterfield denied ever saying those words adding: “I have a three-year-old daughter. I wouldn’t use language like that.”

As part of the cross-examination, the jury was shown footage of Mr Waterfield screaming at Mr Cox in the stairway of their flat block in Mill Lodge, Shoebury, in August 2016.

In the footage, Mr Waterfield could be heard saying: “If you touch me again, I will tear your f**king face off.”

Mr Jones said: “You said your relationship was OK but this is in August the previous year. All that is going on in front of your partner and your child. That’s what you’re like and that’s what you were like on the night of the incident.” Mr Waterfield told the court he had behaved like that because Mr Cox had insulted his wife and was trying to obstruct him, but sais he never lost his temper on the night of the assault.

The trial continues