Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Motherwell manager cleared of assault charges

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Media captionMotherwell manager Stephen Robinson cleared of assaulting his partner

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson has been acquitted of assaulting his partner in Edinburgh last year.

Mr Robinson, 45, was on trial at at Edinburgh Sheriff Court accused of assaulting Robyn Lauchlan on Waverley Bridge on 13 December.

The football manager had denied the charges against him.

Ms Lauchlan earlier told the trial he had been trying to calm her down while she was upset and she had asked prosecutors not to bring charges.

Sheriff John Cook said it was quite proper that the Crown had brought the matter to court but he was not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the alleged offences had taken place.

It had been alleged that Mr Robinson grabbed Ms Lauchlan, pushed and pulled her and pinned her against a fence on Waverley Bridge, next to the Edinburgh Christmas markets.

The 45-year-old was also accused of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner by shouting, swearing and acting aggressively.

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Image caption Mr Robinson has been the manager of Motherwell since 2017

But Mr Robinson told the trial he had never been abusive to his partner and said he found the idea "disgusting".

Giving evidence at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, the former Northern Ireland international said: "My sole intention was just to calm her down and get her home safely."

The trial had previously heard from Ms Lauchlan that she was distressed because her partner did not intervene when a man who had been speaking to him in a city centre bar told her aggressively to "shut up".

She said "I thought: 'Why is (Stephen) not saying anything to this man who has just ridiculed me in front of everyone and Stephen has allowed him to do it?"'

But the 28-year-old said she was "drunk and behaved like an idiot" and claimed Mr Robinson was "paying the price" for this.

In her evidence, Ms Lauchlan also criticised domestic abuse laws and told the trial that prosecuting her partner was "unfair and wrong".

Image copyright Alan Simpson
Image caption The couple insisted the incident on Waverley Bridge had been misinterpreted

Mr Robinson told the court he had no previous convictions and had never assaulted Ms Lauchlan.

He said that when Ms Lauchlan later saw him at Waverley railway station she walked over and "gave me a big kiss and cuddle".

He told the trial: "She looked as if she had calmed down. My priority was to make sure she was getting home safely."

Mr Robinson said he was "used to things" like the earlier incident in the bar, but became exasperated by her reaction.

He added that he wanted to calm her down and had raised his voice and swore.

The court heard Ms Lauchlan wrote several letters to the procurator fiscal asking for the charges to be dropped, including one criticising domestic abuse law.

"It terrifies me how easy it is to ruin someone's life with this new law in place," she wrote.

In a statement after the case concluded, Ms Lauchlan said: "In no shape or form have I ever been a victim of domestic abuse. At no stage did Stephen push, shove or frighten me. He did not do the things he was accused of.

She added: "The stress this has caused both of us, and our families, is impossible to emphasise enough. It has taken an immeasurable toll on our lives all because the system has failed us both."

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