Man cleared of throttling teenage lover

Michael Willis. Picture: Lesley Donald
Michael Willis. Picture: Lesley Donald
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A MARRIED man has been cleared of trying to throttle a teenage girl he had an affair with after their relationship turned sour.

Michael Willis was accused of pulling on a pair of latex gloves to strangle his lover, Laurie Asher, in a lay-by.

That charge against him was deleted.

But the 24-year-old still faces a possible jail sentence after being convicted of assaulting his young girlfriend.

Ms Asher, 17, told the High Court in Edinburgh they developed a “boyfriend-girlfriend” relationship after meeting at a South Queensferry leisure centre when she was only 15.

The court was told she bombarded him with hundreds of text messages, begging him to leave his wife and threatening to go to police with false 

Solicitor advocate Ray McMenamin, defending, told the jury it was “prophetic” that one message threatened: “I hope something f****** happens to me and you are to blame.”

Willis claimed he tried to end the affair months before a meeting between them on June 21 last year turned violent.

Giving evidence from behind screens, Ms Asher claimed Willis tried to throttle her while wearing latex gloves during the encounter. She told how Willis had agreed to take her for a drive in his mum’s black Skoda. They pulled up in a lay-by off the Kirkliston road where Willis made as if to kiss her but grabbed her, causing her nose to bleed, before pulling her out of the car.

Ms Asher said she was “scared” when Willis pushed her into bushes and sat on her knees. She added: “He was suffocating me. He was wearing gloves, clear latex ones.”

She claimed Willis told her: “You ruined my life. I cannot let you go.”

After biting his thumb, Ms Asher said she was rendered unconscious for between 25 and 30 minutes before coming round to find herself alone.

Willis admitted assaulting Ms Asher, but insisted she was exaggerating. The leisure centre worker said he could see her getting to her feet as he drove away from the scene.

A jury found Willis guilty of assaulting the teenager to her severe injury by struggling with her and throwing her into bushes, but they deleted the attempted murder charge.

They also cleared Willis of trying to twist Ms Asher’s neck, repeatedly compressing her neck with his hands and causing her to pass out.

First offender Willis, of Echline Park, South Queensferry, will be sentenced next month.