Scott Western admitted he was “100 per cent in control” of wife Therese after the pair entered into the sadomasochistic pact in a bid to “save their marriage” of 15 years.
The 44-year-old’s “submissive” wife went to police after three beatings on the same day at their Wester Hailes flat left her needing hospital treatment.
Police caught community worker Western carrying a copy of the contract, signed by both of them, to his car as he planned to flee the home.
The documents contained rules for the couple’s master and slave relationship, specifying sexual acts and household chores which had to be completed by Mrs Western, 46, or she faced “punishment”.
Among the “rules” Mrs Western broke and received a beating for were failing to answer a question quickly enough, opening the passenger door of their car instead of waiting for her husband to do it, and refusing to have sex when he wanted.
Western, a former administrator of Hearts web forum Jambos Kickback, pleaded guilty at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday to a charge of assaulting his wife at their flat in Murrayburn Place on June 10 last year.
Depute fiscal Dev Kapadia told the court that the couple had “entered into a contract that [Mrs Western] was to be the accused’s slave and was to do anything the accused said”.
On the day of the attacks, the couple were in bed when Western awoke at 7.30am and told his wife that he wanted sex. When she refused, Western ordered her to sit naked on the bed with her hands on her knees and he slapped her on the head, face, chest and stomach. He then struck her ten times across her back with his belt.
Later that day, the couple drove to visit Mrs Forsyth’s 25-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, but only after Western had checked his wife for “visible bruises”.
Mr Kapadia told the court: “One rule was that [Mrs Western] could not leave the car until the accused opened the door for her.”
Mrs Western had forgotten the “rule” and “knew she would be punished”. When they arrived back at the flat, Western ordered his wife into the living room and told her to strip off.
Mr Kapadia said: “He took off his belt and struck her across the chest and stomach. He hit her with the belt on the back and told her she deserved to be punished as she had ‘disobeyed him’.”
Western asked his wife, ‘What’s going on in your head?’ then told her to get dressed.
The couple left the flat to have lunch at a cafe in Gorgie Road when Mrs Western again let herself out of the car door.
The pair returned to the top-floor flat and Western ordered his wife to take off her clothes before launching into another beating.
Mr Kapadia said: “He struck her in the chest, stomach and back. She told him to stop. He grabbed her by the hair and said, ‘What the f*** are you doing?’ He struck her again with the belt.”
A neighbour in the stairwell heard the sound of Western shouting from his living room at 2.05pm.
At 6.30pm, Mrs Western left the flat and met with her 22-year-old son from a previous relationship. Terrified and in pain, she told him she had been attacked by her husband and showed him her bruises.
The police were called and Mrs Western was taken by ambulance to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for treatment.
Officers went to the flat and saw Western walking to his car carrying a handful of documents, which later turned out to be the master and slave contract.
Western told police that he was leaving to stay in temporary accommodation, but he was detained and taken to Wester Hailes police station.
The court heard the documents “contained rules and a contract specifying sexual acts and household chores which must be carried out by [Mrs Western]”.
Western told officers he had been “careful to avoid his wife’s head” during the attacks, and explained that they “lived an alternative lifestyle”. If his wife “misbehaved”, she would receive a beating.
He claimed he “never wanted to do it” while his wife “did not want it”, but “she reached a point where talking no longer worked”. He added that he knew Mrs Western was “not enjoying the beating” and it left him “sick to his stomach”, though he admitted he was “100 per cent in control” of his spouse.
During the interview, Western was able to remember the number of belt lashes he had delivered during the three assaults – ten for the first attack, then eight, then three.
He admitted seizing her by the head, pushing her on the couch and striking her, but said it was “because she was taking too long to answer a question” which was “standard punishment” under the contract.
Doctors at the ERI found that Mrs Western had suffered “multiple” injuries caused by “considerable blunt force”.
Mr Kapadia said that the slave contract had been signed by both Westerns and constituted a “list of rules in an effort to save their marriage”. The document was titled as such.
A notebook contained entries written by Mrs Western about how she “feels worthless and wants to end it all”.
Defence advocate Michael Anderson, representing Western, told the court that the couple had an “unusual” relationship which could “be categorised as alternative”, a fact which was “reflected in the contract they submitted to”.
Mr Anderson said his client had no previous convictions and had an appointment with a psychiatrist for that afternoon.
Western, who now lives in Murrayburn Grove, admitted assaulting his wife, threatening her with violence, inducing her to remove her clothes, slapping her on the face and body, striking her on the body with a belt, seizing her by the hair, pushing her on to a couch and slapping her on the face and body, all to her injury.
Sheriff Gordon Liddle deferred sentence until next month for background reports, including one from the Caledonian Men’s Project, which deals with domestic violence. The sheriff released Western on bail.
When approached by the News, Western refused to comment. The couple are now understood to be separated.
ANALYSIS: John Scott QC, Chairman of the Howard League for Prison reform
Having a contract is no defence for assault.
The best example which shows the attitude of the law to this kind of thing is the “square go”. In a situation where two men are having a dispute and decide that they want to settle it outside, and both are willing participants, both could be prosecuted for injuries sustained during the course of a fight, even though both agreed to enter. So in legal terms agreeing to take part is not a defence.
Signing a contract designed to stop someone being prosecuted for a specific act will not work as a defence, as there will be serious questions from the court about how freely and willingly the participant signed the contract in the first instance. It just doesn’t work.”
LAYING DOWN THE LAW
SCOTT Western married his wife on July 26, 1996, at the Edinburgh Registry Office.
Mrs Western was working as a knitting machine operator and already had two children when she married 28-year-old Western, who was a law student.
Western, who was born in Polwarth in 1968, has a brother and sister. Mrs Western was born in Saughton in 1965 and has two brothers and four sisters.
In 2002, Western spoke to the Evening News after he sued the Post Office for £90,000, claiming its failure to redirect his mail for seven weeks cost him his community legal advice business.
Mr Western had set up Paralegal Services at the Castlebrae Business Centre in Craigmillar’s Peffer Place in 2000.
He is currently the director of the charity Community Help and Advice Initiative, based in Wester Hailes, and was a former director of the Wester Hailes Support Team for Drug Related Problems. CHAI was formed in 1997 as part of an amalgamation of a smaller urban programmes operating in the Wester Hailes area and delivering a range of social welfare services.