Abuser ‘who drove victim to suicide’ walks free

Sean Lees was found guilty of a string of attacks. Picture: Sam Hardie
Sean Lees was found guilty of a string of attacks. Picture: Sam Hardie
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A MOTHER whose daughter killed herself after being assaulted by a serial domestic abuser has hit out after he was spared a prison sentence.

Margaret Crainey’s daughter Gillian McAuley, 38, took her own life after being subjected to abuse at the hands of Sean Lees.

Justice has not been served for my daughter

Margaret Crainey

Lees, 49, attacked care worker Gillian, who was unaware of his violent past, during a caravan holiday.

She was left terrified of the violent plant operator and was found dead at her home in Kilsyth, Lanarkshire, by her mother in 2012.

Following her death, Ms Crainey spoke to police officers about Lees and a former girlfriend of his came forward to claim he had also attacked her.

Lees, from Kilsyth, was found guilty last month of attacking Ms McAuley and of three other assaults on former partner Gwen Dingwall.

At a trial at Airdrie Sheriff Court, Ms McAuley gave evidence from beyond the grave to help convince a jury of his guilt.

A tape was played of a harrowing 999 call she made from the caravan to emergency services pleading for help.

In the recording, Ms McAuley said: “Could I have assistance? I have a very aggressive boyfriend and I need to go home.

“I just want to go home; please can somebody help me. He’s beating me up. Please can you help me.”

But yesterday, Lees walked free from court after a sheriff ordered him to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work and put him on probation for two years.

Speaking outside court, furious Ms Crainey said: “I am absolutely gutted by the sheriff’s decision.

“Justice has not been served for my daughter.

“For him to put her and another woman through hell and not get some punishment is a disgrace.

“I am finding it really hard without Gillian and this has just broken my heart.

“I did everything I could to bring Sean Lees to court and get justice for her and he has walked away free.

“This sends out the wrong message to other women who are thinking about reporting 
domestic abuse.”

Lees’ defence solicitor, Ross Brown, said social workers had recommended that Lees would benefit from a supervision order. He added: “He is a man of 49 years of age and he has been considerably affected by this whole prosecution.”

Ms Crainey had told how she blamed Lees for her daughter’s death.

She said: “I had to walk in the house and find Gillian dead – it was absolutely devastating. She had hanged herself.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Sean Lees drove her to her death.”