Top stable groom cleared of assault

AN award-winning stable groom accused of assaulting his former partner after finding text messages from another man on her phone has been cleared by a jury.

Stuart Messenger, named stable employee of the year in April, had denied assaulting his former girlfriend Lee Saunders causing her actual bodily harm, common assault and criminal damage. He was found not guilty of all three charges after a trial at Ipswich Crown Court.

Messenger, 48, of Freemason Lodge, Bury Road, Newmarket, was alleged to have punched Miss Saunders twice in the face, smashed her mobile phone against a wall and then thrown an ornamental pig out of a window at her.

Messenger, who was the head lad at Sir Michael Stoute’s stable, claimed Miss Saunders’ injuries were caused accidentally during a scuffle between the pair.

He said that after discovering text messages from another man on her mobile phone he had gone into the bedroom to talk to Miss Saunders about them but she had tried to get her phone away from him.

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He told the court that he had been devastated when he saw text messages on her phone from another man but said he would never have deliberately hurt her as she had been his “world, soul-mate and family”.

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