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Friday, 29 August 2014

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Ex-rugby union star hit man he blamed for getting his wife the sack, Carlisle court told

Former international rugby star George Graham has appeared before a judge at Carlisle Crown Court – for thumping a man he blamed for getting his wife the sack.

George Graham photo
George Graham

The 46-year-old, who was capped 25 times for Scotland and now coaches Gala RFC in Galashiels, went into the offices of the Network 4 furniture delivery company at Kingmoor Park in Carlisle one evening in July and confronted Michael John Stimpson, who was working there.

He accused Mr Stimpson of spreading “rumours” about his wife and told him: “I am not going to hit you here, but if I ever see you outside . . . “

Graham became “wound-up and aggressive”, prosecutor Becky McGregor told the court and Mr Stimpson tried to back off.

But Graham punched him in the face with his clenched fist. Mr Stimpson suffered concussion and needed a total of 11 stitches – seven inside his mouth and four outside, the court heard.

When interviewed by the police later he admitted he had been “angry about the situation” involving his wife.

Graham, a former corporal and physical training instructor in the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, who lives in Princes Court, off Haig Road, Harraby, pleaded guilty to causing Mr Stimpson actual bodily harm.

Defence advocate Mike Reay said Graham, had suspected Mr Stimpson of “having had some part” in his wife’s dismissal.

She had now found another job, but it was only part-time and poorly paid, he said.

Judge Peter Hughes QC ordered Graham – who he described as a “hard working man who doesn’t stand any nonsense” – to do 200 hours unpaid community work and pay £300 court costs. He chose not to make him pay compensation to Mr Stimpson, because of the circumstances of the case.

“There plainly was a background to this incident, but I am not concerned about the rights and wrongs of that. You are a strong man and well able to look after yourself. You allowed your temper to get the better of you.

“It may have been one thing to go and speak to Mr Stimpson to express your views, but it was quite another to push him and then punch him to the floor,” added the judge

Graham started his playing career at Stirling County in 1987 before switching to rugby league in the early 1990s with Carlisle Border Raiders. When he returned to rugby union he played for Newcastle Falcons in a very successful six-year stint before joining the Border Reivers in 2002.

After finishing his playing career, Graham had three years as forwards coach with the Scottish national side until May 2008.

He had a short spell coaching in Italy but returned to Borders rugby in 2009 when he was appointed head coach of the famous Gala club.

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