A JEALOUS wife hid under a blanket in the back seat of her husband's car to find out whether he was having an affair.

And 38-year-old Claire Soanes exploded with anger when she heard the chat going on between husband Martin and a woman friend of his.

Soanes, of The Drive, Orpington, grabbed Elizabeth Hutchins' hair and beat her, Croydon Crown Court heard when she pleaded guilty to a charge of causing actual bodily harm.

She had discovered her husband was seeing Miss Hutchins but doubted his claim it was a platonic relationship, said prosecutor Ged O'Connor.

So Mr Soanes arranged for her to lie hidden in the back seat when he went by car to meet Miss Hutchins.

Mr O'Connor said: "He pulled up and said to Miss Hutchins something is going to happen which you're not going to like'."

After a while, Soanes emerged from underneath her blanket and started punching Miss Hutchins and pulling her hair.

Eventually, Miss Hutchins was pushed from the car and staggered home.

She was later taken to hospital with multiple bruises and a black eye.

Simon Russell-Flint, mitigating, said Mr Soanes' aim had been to persuade his wife there was nothing sexual going on between himself and Miss Hutchins.

He had no idea his wife would launch an attack but the assault had been triggered by a comment by Miss Hutchins about staying out all night.

"The plan had been to reassure his wife there was nothing wrong.

"But it had had completely the opposite effect."

Judge Timothy Stow sentenced Soanes to 140 hours' community punishment order and ordered her to pay £1,000 compensation and £250 costs.

He said: "You lost control of yourself."