Kelly Sotherton grabbed England's fourth athletics gold in Melbourne in the heptathlon but high jumper Martyn Bernard complained he had been "cheated" out of a fifth.

Sotherton justified her favourite tag by finishing ahead of Australian Kylie Wheeler and 20-year-old England team-mate Jessica Ennis to become Commonwealth champion but was less than happy with her performance despite claiming her first major title with a total of 6,396 points.

The Birchfield Harrier finished 98 points ahead of Wheeler with Ennis recording a personal best of 6,269 in third.

The Olympic bronze medallist was particularly annoyed by another dismal showing in the javelin, her best of 32.04 metres more than a metre down on the 33.09m which ultimately cost her a world championship bronze medal in Helsinki last year.

"At the moment I'm disappointed, not for gold but for my points total," said the 29-year-old, who still took a 104-point lead into the final event, the 800m.

"I had a rubbish day today, my javelin is just getting worse.

"I have no words to describe how gutted I am at letting myself down. But when I stand on the top step of the podium and listen to the national anthem for the first time ever I think I'll realise I have achieved something quite good today.

"I just wanted to win and get across the line to become Commonwealth champion."

On the javelin itself, Sotherton added: "If I knew what was wrong it would be easier to remedy. I really haven't got a clue what it is. It's probably psychological because it is nothing to do with strength or ability.

"I have to deal with it because I'm not going to be up for any medals at the worlds or Europeans with the state of this javelin. I need to improve dramatically.

"I'm going to talk to my coach (John Trower) because it can't continue. There are only two years until the Olympics, I'll lose a number of medals because of it. I've got to throw a minimum of 40m. At the moment I am giving everyone a 200-point start."

Sheffield student Ennis, who led after two events and set a number of personal bests, said: "To come back with a medal is just unbelievable. The javelin was good, I'm slowly improving. It was a bit of a disappointing shot but apart from that everything was good."

But there was controversy in the men's high jump, where an angry Bernard felt officials had scuppered his bid for gold.

Bernard took silver on countback from defending champion Mark Boswell of Canada. Both athletes cleared 2.26 metres but failed to clear 2.29m, with Boswell taking gold by virtue of fewer failures at previous heights.

However, Bernard felt he was "cheated" when officials refused his request to raise the bar to 2.31m after Boswell had accidentally moved Bernard's runway marker.

The 21-year-old from Wakefield explained: "Mark ran through in his first attempt at 2.29m and tripped my marker up. When I went on my attempt the marker was in a different position so I didn't get to the bar and I stopped.

"My time ran out so I asked the judges whether it could be taken again, they said no. At the second attempt I asked for the bar to be raised to 2.31m while Mark was taking his second attempt at 2.29m.

"However, they pretended they didn't hear me. My name came up at 2.29 on the scoreboard, I didn't want to jump that height so I went to the judge and said 'I asked for 2.31.' She didn't say anything to me.

"I went back assuming that my attempt was for 2.31. However, my name stayed on the screen for 2.29. I went back again and she said 'No, I'm not going to move it.' Then there wasn't enough time. For my third attempt I wasn't in the right shape to jump.

"I don't feel I had a fair crack at it. Everyone is telling me I should be happy with silver but I feel I've been cheated."

England's Martyn Rooney finished fifth in the final of the 400m in a time of 45.51 seconds, Australian John Steffensen delighting the home crowd with victory.

Middlesbrough's Chris Tomlinson was sixth in the long jump final with a best of 7.96m in the third round, while team-mate Gregory Rutherford was eighth. In the women's long jump Jade Johnson comfortably qualified for the final.

There was disappointment for Olympic relay gold medallist Darren Campbell when he was disqualified from the second round of the 200m after stepping out of his lane.

Coventry's Marlon Devonish finished third in his heat to advance.

In the women's 3,000m steeplechase, English pair Jo Ankier and Tina Brown finished seventh and eighth respectively in a race won by Uganda's Dorcus Inzikuru.