Old Course worker jailed for pub ‘science’ fight

Kevin Rundstrom at Dundee Court. Picture; Alan Richardson/Pix-AR.co.uk

Kevin Rundstrom at Dundee Court. Picture; Alan Richardson/Pix-AR.co.uk

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A GREENKEEPER who tended the fairways at the famous Old Course has been jailed for assaulting a physics PhD student in a row over their scientific knowledge.

American Kevin Rundstrom violently attacked laser physics student Guy Whitworth at a pub in St Andrews in June, leaving him with a scar on his neck.

Kevin Rundstrom worked as a greenkeeper on the Old Course. Picture: Getty

Kevin Rundstrom worked as a greenkeeper on the Old Course. Picture: Getty

Prosecutors had claimed the scar had been caused by Rundstrom smashing a champagne flute into Mr Whitworth’s neck, but a jury removed that allegation from the charge when they convicted the American.

Dundee Sheriff Court today heard Rundstrom now had no right to remain in the UK and is facing deportation.

Mr Whitworth, 24, originally of London, told the court he had been out with two friends celebrating his birthday when the group met Rundstrom and one of his colleagues in the town’s popular Vic bar.

After an initial “friendly” conversation, things became “heated” between Mr Whitworth and Rundstrom.

Guy Whitworth. Picture: Alan Richardson

Guy Whitworth. Picture: Alan Richardson

Rundstrom told the court they had initially joked about the US science-based comedy show The Big Bang Theory.

But the atmosphere turned when he claimed Mr Whitworth had “demeaned” him over his science knowledge.

Rundstrom said: “I described myself as a science major like him – I said I’d studied plant science, elements of chemistry and biology.

“He looked at me as if I was not well-versed in biology and chemistry. He was trying to put us down and was directing comments towards me trying to demean me and my friend.”

A witness said Rundstrom’s friend had at one point gone to the bar and bought bottles of Prosecco for the group, served in Champagne flutes.

Shortly afterwards Rundstrom moved to stand beside Mr Whitworth – who is studying the “excited state interactions hindering organic optoelectronic devices in specific regard to organic solid-state lasers” for his PhD – apparently to apologise for their earlier row.

Fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson showed the court CCTV footage, which showed a man – identified as Rundstrom – appearing to strike Mr Whitworth twice, once with each hand.

Mr Whitworth told the jury that he was left with shards of glass lodged in his neck and in his mouth after the attack.

He said: “We had several heated discussions and arguments. I remember telling him I could tell he didn’t like me and that I thought he was a very unpleasant person to be around. I may have called him a t*** or something like that. I don’t think there was a verbal response – but there was a physical response.

“There was force applied to the left side of my neck then he punched me in the face.

“We were separated and I was taken to the kitchen and then I realised I was obviously more seriously injured than I had suspected. Some glass was taken out of my neck and there was also some in my teeth.

“There was a large laceration on my neck and a puncture wound on my cheek.

“The laceration needed X-rayed to ensure there was no glass in it and had to be stitched.”

Mr Whitworth said the wound had left a permanent scar and showed the jury the extent of the injury close up.

Scott Norrie, defending, suggested Mr Whitworth may have come by his injuries by hitting his neck off the table in front of him after the initial punch.

Rundstrom, 25, of West Sands, St Andrews, denied assaulting Mr Whitworth to his severe injury and permanent disfigurement on 14 June this year.

A jury of nine women and six men found him guilty of the assault, but removed references to smashing a glass off Mr Whitworth’s neck and causing severe injury and permanent disfigurement.

Sheriff Elizabeth Munro jailed Rundstrom for 21 months.

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