A “tempestuous and topsy-turvy” relationship between two barristers descended into an unseemly row yesterday at the High Court in London.

While Kerry Cox accused her former fiancé of “alcohol-fuelled aggression and violence”, he in turn claimed she had engaged in “blatant sexual behaviour” with a colleague and made “outrageous advances” to members of the Australian cricket team during a visit to the West Indies.

Lawrence Jones insisted he was only engaged to Ms Cox for a few weeks and she had to move out of his flat because of the “uncontrollable and unacceptable behaviour” of her alsatian dog, Bootsie.

The female barrister is claiming a half share of an Essex mill they were converting before the split in May 2001, as well as ownership of a London flat, though both properties are in Mr Jones’s name.

The High Court heard that Ms Cox moved into Mr Jones’s flat in Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn, after they became engaged in early 1998. He said he took away the engagement ring in April that year because Ms Cox was seeing other men and he had discovered her “behaving blatantly” with a leading member of the Bar outside Stone Buildings.

He had first suggested buying her a diamond ring, she explained to Mr Justice Mann, while they were staying at the Mandarin Hotel in Hong Kong. She said they eventually settled on one, which was later valued at nearly £20,000, after a holiday in the Solomon Islands when they were “very much in love”.

Thomas Ashe QC, representing Mr Jones, asked whether she remembered agreeing with his client that if the engagement was broken off, she would return the ring. She replied: “Absolutely not. Lawrence would never have said that. It was not in his nature … When he was very drunk he would insist on taking the ring away, saying it is all over. Next morning he would return it, saying he was terribly sorry. He was always very apologetic. The ring was always in my custody except for a few days.”

Ms Cox insisted her former fiancé had only demanded the return of the diamond after she issued proceedings against him, but it had since disappeared. “I have offered to give it back but I physically can’t,” she said.

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