Top groom ‘threw ornamental pig at ex’

AN award-winning stable groom assaulted his former partner and threw an ornamental pig at her head from an upstairs window, prosecutors claim.

Stuart Messenger, named stable employee of the year in April, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday charged with common assault, causing actual bodily harm and criminal damage to his ex-girlfriend Lee Saunders’ mobile phone.

The 48-year-old, of Freemason Lodge, Bury Road, Newmarket, is alleged to have punched Miss Saunders twice in the face, before throwing an ornamental pig out of a window at her.

The head lad at Sir Michael Stoute’s stable denies the charges, claiming her injuries were caused accidentally as the result of a scuffle between the pair.

While still in a relationship with Messenger, Miss Saunders claims that on April 23 he smashed her mobile phone against a wall before assaulting her and slashing at his own wrists with a kitchen knife. She told the court she ran from the flat with the intention of driving away but was hit on the right side of the forehead as she approached her car.

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Messenger was arrested and questioned by police and made no comment during interview.

Messenger told the jury that an argument had broken out between the two, whose relationship he described as “fading”, after he found text messages from a man on her phone. He said: “I was devastated but not angry. I just couldn’t believe what I had read.” He went on to deny attacking Miss Saunders.

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The trial continues.

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