England rugby fan punched Lasswade pub manager and his wife

Brothers Adam (L) and Thomas Staples (R). Picture: Alexander Lawrie

Brothers Adam (L) and Thomas Staples (R). Picture: Alexander Lawrie

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AN England rugby fan who battered a pub boss after watching his team beat Scotland last year has been ordered to pay compensation.

Thomas Staples launched the assault on pub manager William Henderson after getting lost trying to find his hotel on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

Staples was challenged by Mr Henderson and his wife after the Three Lions rugby fan had been spotted wandering around the car park area of the Elginhaugh Farm pub in the middle of the night.

But the confrontation turned violent when 24-year-old Staples attacked Mr Henderson by punching him to the ground and repeatedly striking the man while he was down.

Wife Carol then attempted to pull the man off her husband but she was also punched to the face and pushed to the ground during the incident last February.

Drunken Staples, a semi-senior chartered accountant, had been at Murrayfield Stadium earlier that day with his brother Adam watching England beat Scotland 15-9 and had spent the night drinking in Edinburgh city centre.

He had been attempting to find the Premier Inn hotel, near Dalkeith, Midlothian, after being dropped off at the wrong location by a taxi driver.

Staples claims he retaliated after hearing anti-English comments during the initial confrontation with the Hendersons.

Now Staples, from Lidlington, Bedfordshire, has been ordered to pay Mr Henderson £400 in compensation and pay a £450 fine after he pleaded guilty to the assault charges at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today.

Mark Keane, fiscal depute, told the court Mr Henderson heard shouting coming from two males from the Farmhouse Inn car park, Gilmerton Road, Edinburgh, at around 1.20am on February 6 last year.

Mr Keane said: “He went over to speak to the males and told them to leave the premises. On attempting to usher them off the premises Thomas Staples then punched William Henderson to the head and repeatedly whilst he was on the ground.

“Seeing this, Carol Henderson attempted to intervene and pull Staples from her husband but Staples then punched her and pushed her to the ground. Both then ran off from the locus.”

Police were contacted and soon tracked down Staples to the nearby Premier Inn hotel whereby he was arrested and charged over the attacks.

The court was told Mr Henderson suffered cuts to his cheek and forehead as well as a swollen left ankle during the attack.

Solicitor Angus McLennan said his “extremely intoxicated” client had been watching a rugby match in Edinburgh and had been attempting to find the Premier Inn, near Dalkeith, Midlothian, when he clashed with Mr Henderson.

Mr McLennan said the taxi driver had dropped Staples and his brother off at the wrong place and the drunken pair became lost looking for their hotel.

He said: “They got into a taxi and had fallen asleep in the taxi. They were roused by the driver and dropped off in a car park at the pub restaurant. Presumably this appeared to the taxi driver to be the Premier Inn.

“They were wandering about trying to find the Premier Inn but the owners, who live there, and a night manager came out.

“There was a confrontation but the owners were not too impressed. There was some reference to their English accents and something about ‘south of the border’ and then it all kicked off.

“We then have a few seconds of random furious punching.”

The brief said the rugby thug had “no clear recollection” of the attack and was “extremely ashamed and apologetic” over his actions.

Sheriff Nigel Ross decided to mark the assault with a £450 fine and told Staples he must pay his victim £400 in compensation.

Adam Staples, 27, walked free from the dock after his not guilty pleas were accepted by the Crown.

England retained the Calcutta Cup by beating Scotland 15-9 at Murrayfield last February and the pair clash again in a much-anticipated match at Twickenham this Saturday.

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