Lewis Ritchie: Ex-SNP Edinburgh councillor guilty of sex attacks on three women

A former SNP councillor has been found guilty of carrying out a series of sex attacks on three women.

Lewis Ritchie pounced on one victim by forcing his tongue into her mouth as they travelled together in the back of a taxi following an SNP function in Edinburgh city centre.

Ritchie, 38, also drunkenly attempted to get into bed with a fellow nationalist while dressed just in his underwear following an SNP conference in Glasgow.

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He also left a young waitress bruised after he slapped her on the buttocks in a cafe in the Leith area of the city.

Guilty: Former Edinburgh SNP councillor Lewis Ritchie has been convicted of three sex attacks
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Ritchie denied the allegations involving the three victims, who cannot be identified due to legal reasons, but was found guilty following a two day trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Sheriff Fiona Tait placed Ritchie on the Sex Offenders’ Register and deferred sentence to later this year for social work reports to be prepared.

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The trial heard from an SNP activist who said she and Ritchie shared a taxi home to the north of the city following a function at the party’s club rooms in Edinburgh city centre in April 2016.

The woman said Ritchie was “extremely drunk” and was “slurring his words” and when it came for him to get out of the vehicle he had asked her for a kiss.

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The woman said she was “surprised” by the request and in response had given him “a kiss on the cheek”.

She said Ritchie, of Leith, told her ‘no I want a proper kiss’ and then forced his tongue into her mouth.

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The woman told the court it was “a deeply unpleasant incident” and she had immediately asked him to leave the cab.

The second victim said she had been at the SNP conference in Glasgow in October 2017 when Ritchie asked to spend the night at the flat where she and colleagues were staying.

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She told the trial she went to bed around midnight but was woken around 2am with a drunken, half-naked Ritchie entering the room and attempting to get into bed with her.

She said Ritchie was wearing just his boxer shorts and as he tried to lift the duvet he said ‘It’s OK we’ll just have a cuddle”.

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The woman said she felt “quite vulnerable” as she was only wearing at t-shirt and had pushed him away and told him ‘no’ before he left the bedroom.

The third woman, a waitress, was targeted by Ritchie in 2019.

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She said Ritchie would regularly touch her bottom and she was left feeling “very uncomfortable” by his attention towards her.

On one occasion Ritchie left her with a bruised buttock after slapping her on the bottom.

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The woman added she “felt sexualised” by the encounters and went to the police two weeks later.

Ritchie also gave evidence claiming he had not committed any of the offences levelled against him by the three women.

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But following the evidence Sheriff Tait found the married father-of-one guilty of four offences and acquitted him of one charge of making sexual comments towards the waitress.

Ritchie resigned from the Scottish National Party after the allegations emerged in 2018 and sat as an independent councillor for the Leith area for a short time.

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