Married man avoids jail for attacking teenage ex

The High Court in Edinburgh heard Michael Willis left Laurie Asher with severe injuries. Picture: Bill Henry
The High Court in Edinburgh heard Michael Willis left Laurie Asher with severe injuries. Picture: Bill Henry
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A MARRIED South Queensferry man who attacked a teenage girl when their affair ended badly today escaped a jail sentence.

Instead, Michael Willis, 24, who left 17-year-old Laurie Asher with severe injuries, was ordered to perform 150 hours unpaid work in the community.

Willis claimed she was stalking him and had falsely told his wife he had raped her.

He was originally charged with attempting to murder Miss Asher by throttling her, but that charge was found not guilty by the jury.

The judge told Willis he was not offering him “a soft option” and told him if he failed to complete the unpaid work he would be brought back to court for sentence,

A trial at the High Court in Edinburgh heard that Willis and Miss Asher had a “boyfriend-girlfriend” relationship after meeting at a leisure centre in South Queensferry, when she was 15.

Willis claimed he had tried to end the affair months before the violent encounter in a lay-by off the Kirkliston road on June 21 last year.

The jury also heard that she bombarded him with text messages begging him to leave his wife and threatening to go her and to the police with false allegations.

Miss Asher claimed she was unconscious for half an hour after Willis tried to strangle her.

Defence solicitor advocate Raymond McMenamin said: “Mr Willis has shown remorse.This crime was committed in a particular set of circumstances which are unlikely to occur again.”

He said that Willis may lose his job, but he and his wife are still together.