Man, 24, cleared of attacking love rival

York Crown Court
York Crown Court

A MAN has been cleared of assault after a court heard how his love rival smirked “Let him get out of these lies” shortly after reporting the alleged matter to the police.

Gareth Watson, 24, of Dunn Grove, Eastfield, had denied assaulting the alleged victim, occasioning him actual bodily harm by whipping him with a dog chain, and yesterday he was found not guilty by a jury at York Crown Court.

The woman at the centre of the love triangle told the court she had lived with Mr Watson for six years, but in 2010 she had started a secret affair with the complainant.

She eventually moved in with her lover after telling Mr Watson of the affair and being kicked out, but she said she only stayed a week because she wanted to go back to her partner.

She said that on November 24 2010, the alleged victim had caught her texting her former partner and became angry.

The woman returned home to Mr Watson and her children the following day - the very morning the complainant reported the alleged attack on him.

The complainant presented at Eastfield Police Station with marks on his back, claiming that he had been whipped “seven or eight times”.

Adding that Mr Watson had “never been violent in his life” the woman told the jury the alleged victim was “smirking” after leaving the police station.

The jury had been told that the year before the man had made an allegation of being attacked by Mr Watson but later withdrew his complaint, admitting that it had never taken place.

When arrested on the latest allegation, Mr Watson told the police he had been at home when his love rival came in attacked him with the dog chain and grabbed his throat.

He said he managed to snatch the lead from his attacker and had struck out with it three times in self-defence.