Man struck woman with pole and tried to smother her in murder bid

Robert Stewart attempted to murder Stephanie McMillan during a violent attack at a caravan in East Lothian.

Man struck woman with pole and tried to smother her in murder bid iStock

A man has been jailed for nine years for attempting to murder a woman during a violent attack at a caravan.

Robert Stewart assaulted Stephanie McMillan in East Lothian by grabbing her by the hair before repeatedly punching her and whipping her with a metal pole.

He also tried to smother his victim with a cushion causing her to black out and forced a sock into her mouth.

A judge told Stewart, 40, at the High Court in Edinburgh: “You inflicted multiple injuries, including a collapsed lung.”

Jamie Gilchrist QC said that Stewart had a disturbing criminal record and ordered that he should be monitored for a further two-year period.

Stewart had earlier denied attempting to murder Ms McMillan, 36, at the caravan parked near Skateraw, at Dunbar, on October 9 and 10 in 2019 but was found guilty after a trial.

Following the verdict the jury heard that he was previously jailed for 32 months for a previous serious assault on the victim.

Ms McMillan said that at the time of the murder bid she asked Stewart if he was going to pick winkles but he said he was not and told her to go with his brother.

She said there was no room in the brother’s car and she could not drive and asked why he was not going to collect 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 and get winkles.

Ms McMillan said she went out to call her sister from a car but Stewart pulled her from the vehicle by her hair and began battering her.

She said in the caravan she sat on a chair but Stewart started striking her with a metal pole.

“He just kept whipping and whipping me on the legs with the pole,” she said.

“He punched me full force on the face and arms,” she told the court, adding that Stewart said: “I am going to kill you before the night comes to an end.”

The attack victim said she pushed him to try and get away and at one stage managed to run to another caravan in a bid to get help but Stewart dragged her back to their caravan.

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.”

“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.

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