Care worker mum fined for head-butt on football rival

A MOTHER who head-butted a rival parent on the sidelines of an under-15s football match has been fined.

• Christine Ruthven at court yesterday

Heather Clarke, 43, was cheering on her son at the youth match in Edinburgh when she was attacked by angry mum Christine Ruthven.

The police were called after pharmacy worker Ms Clarke was left needing treatment for a fractured nose.

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The assault, which was reported by the Evening News at the time, happened during the John McConnell Cup fixture between Edinburgh City and Inch Colts at Double Hedges Park in Liberton, Edinburgh, on March 6. The match - which had already seen a player and a coach from Inch Colts sent off - was stopped after the attack.

Care worker Ruthven, 41, who was listed in court papers as living at Brand Gardens, Edinburgh, admitted attacking Ms Clarke.

But her plea of not guilty to assaulting Ms Clarke's teenage daughter was accepted by the Crown. Fiscal depute Katrine Craig said: "Ms Clarke noticed the accused looking in her direction every time she cheered. Ruthven made her way around the pitch towards her and an argument ensued.

"Ruthven head-butted Ms Clarke in the face and her nose began to bleed. The referee then contacted the police and asked them to attend. The accused was arrested and cautioned."

The court heard that married mum-of-one Ruthven, a first-offender, had a son of 14 and had been supporting youth football matches for 12 years.

Defence agent Vincent Belmonte said Ruthven had deliberately kept out of trouble at previous matches.

He claimed Ruthven was reacting to abuse Ms Clarke had been shouting at the opposing team.

"Ms Clarke was not simply cheering," he said. Mr Belmonte said the victim had been swearing at the opposition team and calling them 'Inch scum'.

This angered Ruthven very much, he said.

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"She went round to her, the two parties went face-to-face and when things got out of hand Ruthven then attacked Ms Clarke", he added. "She had made a point of not getting into trouble, and regrets it very much. She was angry that the complainer could use such language at a children's match."

Sheriff Graeme Warner said: "Even although you are a first offender, because of the nature and location of this offence I am going to impose a fine."

Ruthven was ordered to pay a fine of 200."