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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Cumbrian doorman's conviction for assaulting ex-wife overturned

A doorman who was found guilty of assaulting his ex-wife outside a nightclub has had the conviction overturned on appeal.

Derek Stott, 31, of Meadow Vale, Seaton, near Workington, was found guilty of common assault by magistrates following a trial in March. But a panel of judges at Carlisle Crown Court yesterday quashed the original conviction after hearing evidence from three key witnesses.

The court heard accounts from Mr Stott’s ex-wife Gemma Hornsby and two of her friends, who she went out with for a Christmas party last December when the incident happened.

Judge Paul Batty QC was told the incident took place at the Yankees bar in Workington town centre where Mr Stott was working as a doorman.

Mr Stott had been accused of grabbing Miss Hornsby and pushing her into the street.

After considering the appeal Judge Batty described how there had been an earlier, separate incident at Yankees between Miss Hornsby, a nurse, and Mr Stott’s new partner which resulted in Miss Hornsby being ejected from the bar.

He said: “There is a history of animosity between the appellant (Derek Stott) and claimant (Gemma Hornsby).

“We have not explored the highways and byways of that relationship as it has not been necessary.”

Judge Batty said Miss Hornsby had “understandably” tried to avoid Mr Stott and was unaware he was working on the door at Yankees.

He added that the court was “entirely satisfied” that Miss Hornsby’s friends, who appeared as witnesses, had drunk a “considerable amount of alcohol” which may have affected the reliability of their evidence.

But Judge Batty added that he did not believe any of the witnesses had deliberately tried to mislead the court.

He said it was “perfectly plain” that Mr Stott had ejected Miss Hornsby from the club but added that the court was not prepared to say it resulted in a criminal assault.

Judge Batty overturned Mr Stott’s conviction for assault and also quashed a restraining order which had been placed on him.

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