A physiotherapist hit her surgeon partner on the head with a wine glass, cracking it and leaving him injured, after he compared her to an orangutan during a new year argument.
Sara Knight was arrested by police the following day and was set to lose her job working in the intensive care department of a Fife hospital because of the conviction.
However, the 45-year-old was shown mercy by a sheriff and granted an absolute discharge, meaning the offence won’t show up on her record and put her employment at risk.
Knight and partner Paul Gaston, an Edinburgh-based consultant orthopaedic surgeon, had travelled to the Berwickshire vilage of Coldingham for new year in a failed bid to sort out difficulties in their relationship.
However, Selkirk Sheriff Court was told, relations became even more strained on New Year’s Day after Mr Gaston, 48, lightheartedly likened Knight to one of the ruddy-coloured great apes.
Procurator fiscal Graham Fraser said: “They had been out in Coldingham during the day and came back at about 3pm.
“Mr Gaston made some unflattering comments about her appearance, and she took offence at this.
“He had referred to her as looking as an orangutan, and things went from bad to worse.
“She went into a bedroom to calm down, and he came in to speak to her.
“He was holding a glass of red wine, which he put down and then she picked it up and struck him over the head with it.”
Mr Fraser said that attack left Mr Gaston with a cut to one of his arms.
He added that Knight sent him an apologetic text afterwards but “it was clear that the relationship is over”.
It is understood that the assault was reported to the police aftern Mr Gaston discussed it with family members the following day.
Their relationship had been hit by difficulties as Knight was unhappy about the amount of time Mr Gaston was spending with the mother of his children, the court heard.
Defence lawyer Greg McDonnel said the case posed risks of serious consequences for his client’s job with NHS Fife at the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.
He explained: “There were certain comments earlier when they had been drinking wine, and when a picture of an orangutan appeared on an iPad he made a comment which upset her.
“She went away to a bedroom, but he attempted to push his way in.
“He refused to go, and she deeply regrets what she did.”
Knight was arrested the following day at her home in Giles Street, Edinburgh, and spent the night at Dalkeith police station in Midlothian before appearing from custody at Selkirk Sheriff Court on Thursday.
Knight pleaded guilty to assaulting Mr Gaston at farm cottages near Coldingham on Tuesday by striking him on the head with a drinking glass to his injury.
Noting that Knight was a first offender and had an exemplary work record, sheriff Derrick McIntyre granted her an absolute discharge, explaining: “It would be a shame if the NHS lost your expertise over this.”