Tommy Sheridan libel lawyer’s dog attacked girl, 5

The girl was taken to Ninewells Hospital.  Picture: Ian Rutherford

The girl was taken to Ninewells Hospital. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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A TOP advocate was in the dock - after his dog attacked a five-year-old girl, horrifically injuring her.

Graeme Henderson - who represented Tommy Sheridan in his 2006 libel case against the News of the World - admitted that his dog was dangerously out of control when it attacked the young girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Henderson sat shame faced in the dock at Dundee Sheriff Court as it was told how his 13-year-old border terrier, Hercules, bit the girl’s face on May 26 this year.

The court was told the girl had gone to pat the dog after she saw it outside a pub in Pittenweem, Fife, where her mum was working as a cleaner.

But moments later she ran screaming back into the establishment with blood coming from a cut on her face.

The girl’s mother, speaking outside court, said: “She was screaming - and he has never apologised.”

Fiscal depute Kirsten Thomson told the court: “At 10.30am the mother and child where in the pub where the mother was a cleaner.

“The child went out to play and a short time later she came back inside screaming and covering her face with her hand.

“She said she had been bitten by a dog and was frightened and upset.

“There was a solid bleeding split on her face.

“A short time later the accused entered the pub and admitted the dog had bitten her on the cheek.

“He said he had warned her not to come near the dog but she had.

“She was taken to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee where she was given two stitches.

“On June 14 the accused was interviewed and said ‘my dog was not out of control, let along dangerously’.”

But today, Henderson, 54, of Drum Brae South, Edinburgh, pleaded guilty to a charge under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Gary McIlravey, defending, said: “The dog is 13-years-old and has health problems - it is perhaps on its last legs.”

Sheriff George Way fined Henderson £400 and ordered him to keep the animal muzzled and on a lead at all times.

He said: “At the dog’s time of life, and if we can rely upon Mr Henderson, the dog can be muzzled and kept on a lead.”

Speaking after the case, the girl’s mum hit out at the sentence.

The 35-year-old, who cannot be named to protect her daughter’s identity, said: “It should have been destroyed.

“He’s an advocate - a £400 fine is nothing to him.

“She has been left with a permanent scar.

“When it happened she was screaming and I had to pin her down in the hospital when she was getting stitches.

“He has never apologised or asked if there was any markings left on her.”

Henderson represented Tommy Sheridan at his successful 2006 libel trial against the News of the World.

However, he was sacked by the socialist firebrand after wrongly putting it to a witness that she had served jail time for credit card fraud.

Sheridan subsequently won his £200,000 action - but ended up in prison after being convicted of perjuring himself during the action.