Landlord cleared of assaulting partner


A Ribble Valley hotelier has been acquitted of assaulting his partner on the day she was leaving him.

Blackburn magistrates heard Clare Hilary claimed Brendan Woods had pulled out a clump of her hair as he tried to pull her back, but the defence said the claim was a “total fabrication” by Mrs Hilary whose aim was to get Woods convicted so he would lose his shotgun licence and be forced to get rid of his beloved guns.

Woods (56), of the Copy Nook Hotel, Bolton-by-Bowland, pleaded not guilty to assaulting Mrs Hilary and was acquitted after trial. The court heard details of a turbulent relationship which had resulted in Mrs Hilary calling the police four times in the final four years of their eight years together. She said she had never pressed charges because she had invested nearly £100,000 in the business and wanted to protect her interests.

Mrs Colleen Dickinson-Jones (defending) suggested that on one occasion Mrs Hilary had thrown a cup of scalding hot tea over Woods.

“That’s not true,” repiled Mrs Hilary, who also denied belittling her partner in front of staff and customers.

Mrs Dickinson-Jones said Woods would suggest he was actually the victim. He claimed he had found a new partner and it was down to Mrs Hilary’s “jealousy and vindictiveness” that the allegation of assault had been made.

“This was a last ditch attempt by you to get his gun licence removed,” she said.