A man who repeatedly hit a woman with a metal pole in an attempted murder has been warned he faces a lengthy jail sentence.
Robert Stewart, 40, attacked Stephanie McMillan, 36, at a caravan in East Lothian and grabbed her by the hair before repeatedly punching her and whipping her with the pole.
Stewart smothered his victim with a cushion causing her to black out and forced a sock into her mouth during a catalogue of brutality.
He had denied attempting to murder Ms McMillan at the caravan parked near Skateraw, at Dunbar, on October 9 and 10 in 2019, but was found guilty by a jury at the High Court in Edinburgh.
Judge Jamie Gilchrist QC told him: “You have been convicted of a very serious charge and it is obvious a substantial custodial sentence will be required.”
The jury heard after the verdict was returned that Stewart was previously jailed for 32 months for an earlier serious assault of the same victim.
Ms McMillan said they had been on holiday near Dunbar in October in 2019. She said: “I asked if he was going to pick winkles. He said to me he wasn’t going nowhere and to go out with his brother.”
She said there was no room in the brother’s car and she could not drive. She said she asked Stewart why he was not going to pick the shellfish.
She told the court: “He just started shouting and bawling. I don’t know why.” She said he told her she better find a way to go get winkles.
Ms McMillan went out to call her sister from a car but said Stewart pulled her out the vehicle by the hair and began assaulting her.
She said in the caravan she sat on a chair but Stewart started beating her with a metal pole.
She said: “He just kept whipping and whipping me on the legs with the pole.
“He punched me full force on the face and arms.”
Ms McMillan added Stewart told her: “I am going to kill you before the night comes to an end.”
She said she pushed him to try and get away. She later managed to run to get help from another caravan but Stewart followed her and continued to attack her.
He dragged her back to the caravan they were occupying by the hair.
She said: “I was petrified for my life.”
“He said to me he was going to kill me before the night was out. He said it about ten times,” she told the court.
“I thought I was going to die. I couldn’t breathe, it was so painful,” she said. When she was later seen at hospital she was found to have a punctured lung.
Sentence was deferred on Stewart until later this month for the preparation of a background report. He was remanded in custody.
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