Man fined over brawl at Steven Purcell’s flat

The brawl broke out at the flat of former Glasgow Council leader Steven Purcell. Picture: TSPL
The brawl broke out at the flat of former Glasgow Council leader Steven Purcell. Picture: TSPL
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The disgraced former Glasgow City Council leader Steven Purcell was “very drunk” and had blood on his shirt when police were called to his house after a late-night brawl, a court yesterday heard.

Details of the incident at the former Labour politician’s flat, which led to him and a friend being taken for questioning last year, emerged for the first time.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard a cricket bat was lying on a sofa when officers arrived. Mr Purcell was described as “unco-operative” with police and he “wasn’t keen” for them to be there.

Police also found blood and broken glass in the hallway and living room of his flat in the Old Sheriff Court building, on Ingram Street, in Glasgow’s Merchant City on 29 January, 2012.

Ross Henderson, 37, was yesterday convicted of punching another man, James McLeod, in the face at the former council leader’s home. The case is the latest controversy to trouble Mr Purcell, who left his wife and came out as gay in 2006.

He quit his post as Glasgow City Council leader in March 2010 after admitting using cocaine. At the time he also told how the fear of a blackmail plot with regards to his private life pushed him into an emotional breakdown.

An admitted workaholic, Mr Purcell checked himself briefly into a rehabilitation clinic, citing stress and exhaustion, before resigning as a Labour councillor as well.

Yesterday, Henderson admitted punching someone, but said he did not use the cricket bat. When the police arrived at the flat, he told Sergeant Ryan Todd he hit out because he had been woken up and found his trousers had been removed and another man was touching him.

Henderson denied the assault to injury, claiming self-defence, but was yesterday convicted by Sheriff Stuart Reid and fined £200. He was cleared of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner by shouting and swearing and making threats.

The sheriff told Henderson it was “perhaps regarded as reasonable in the circumstances”.

Henderson said he was at Mr Purcell’s house and planned on staying the night there, sleeping on the couch.

He said went to sleep and left Mr McLeod, Mr Purcell and his neighbour, Neil Henry, talking and drinking.

The defendant was asked by his lawyer, Jim Clarke: “What caused you to waken up?”

He replied: “The removal of my trousers.”

Henderson said Mr Henry had his hands on his private parts and he could hear Mr McLeod laughing.

Asked how he reacted, Henderson said he jumped up and punched Mr McLeod two or three times, then went behind the couch to get his trousers.

Mr Clarke said to his client: “It might be put to you that you weren’t trying to defend yourself, you were just being violent.”

But Henderson replied: “No, it wasn’t violence.”

Sgt Todd said when he arrived at about 5:50am, after the attack, Henderson and Mr Purcell were agitated and unco-operative,

and asked why the police were there.

He told the court Henderson commented that Mr Purcell was sleeping and had nothing to do with the assault.

Inspector Mark Nicol told the court the former council leader was “very drunk” and said: “At that time, Mr Purcell wasn’t keen for the police to be in his flat”.

Henderson and Mr Purcell were detained by police, but only Henderson was charged.

Sheriff Reid said it appeared to him that Mr McLeod and Mr Henry were “not being entirely candid as to what went on that evening”.

Mr Purcell became Glasgow City Council’s youngest leader in 2005 when he was just 32.