Edinburgh crime: Lee Makel who played for clubs like Hearts, Livingston, Newcastle and Blackburn Rovers admits threatening to kill wife after affair

A former Hearts player has admitted threatening to kill his wife and her married police commander lover after finding out about their affair.

Lee Makel sent the threatening message to wife Claire after she had left him for Gareth Blair - then Edinburgh’s divisional police commander.

Makel, 49, lost his temper and was said to have “a breakdown” after hearing his wife and Blair, 51, had been caught engaging in sexual activity in the back of his car at a Capital park and ride.

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The former Tynecastle midfielder - who also starred for Livingston, Newcastle and Blackburn Rovers - appeared at Jedburgh Sheriff Court on Monday to admit to threatening and abusive behaviour towards his ex-partner Claire and former Police Scotland chief superintendent Blair.

Ex Hearts star Lee Makel was also an academy coach at Hibernian.
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Makel admitted repeatedly sending messages to Claire that were abusive and threatening including threatening to kill her and Mr Blair and to sending further abusive messages about him.

The court was told Makel sent the series of messages to his 44-year-old wife while he was enjoying a break in Dubai on June 14, 2019.

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He returned to Scotland a week later and sent more messages which contained explicit threats to kill Claire and Mr Blair.

The court was told that further messages were sent to Claire in September 2019 which were said to have caused anxiety and led to the matter being reported to the police.

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Lawyer Jennifer Cameron, defending, said her client had felt “deceived” by his wife and added he was having “some sort of breakdown” after hearing of the affair.

The court was told Makel and his wife had been married for 10 years and been together for around 15 years and had two children.

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Ms Cameron asked Sheriff Peter Paterson to impose an absolute discharge - meaning the conviction won’t appear on disclosure checks.

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The court heard Makel lost his position as a football coach but is keen to resume his career in the game after being released by Sheffield United when the charges came to light.

Sheriff Paterson deferred sentence to September 13 to allow Ms Cameron to address him on this issue.

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Former police commander Gareth Blair pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of breach of the peace following him being caught in the back of his car with Makel’s wife at the Hermiston Gait park and ride facility in 2019.

Claire Makel had her not guilty plea to a public indecency charge accepted by the Crown at the hearing in August 2020.

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Sheriff Adrian Cottam told Blair his actions were “criminal and morally reprehensible” and issued him with a £750 fine.