Rufus McLean: Domestic abuse rugby union player given community sentence

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Rufus McLean joined Glasgow Warriors in 2020 and has three Scotland caps

A Scottish rugby player who admitted abusing his girlfriend has been ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work.

Rufus McLean, 22, admitted abusing Cara Haston over a period of almost two years.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard the former Glasgow Warriors player pushed, hurled abuse at, and tracked Ms Haston.

Her family released a statement saying she had received verbal abuse from members of the rugby community despite McLean’s admission of wrongdoing.

Giving McLean a community payback order, Sheriff Matthew Auchincloss said the behaviour was “aggressive” and “controlling”.

“This behaviour has caused significant harm to your former partner,” he said, adding that McLean “should have known there was a risk of harm”.

But the sheriff said unpaid work would be an “appropriate alternative to custody”, reducing the usual 200-hour community payback order because of his youth and early guilty plea.

McLean, who pleaded guilty to abusing Ms Haston at an earlier hearing, was also made subject to a non-harassment order to not contact her for 10 years.

Sheriff Auchincloss added: “As a young person you have greater capacity to change. I recognise the dynamics of your relationship may have been difficult, but you have shown remorse and shame from your behaviour.”

Boston-born McLean, who has three caps for his country but was sacked by his club after his guilty plea, admitted abusing Ms Haston between April 2019 and January 2021.

The charge against him said he repeatedly shouted, swore and acted aggressively towards her, told her what clothes she could and could not wear, and requested passwords for her social media accounts.

At an earlier hearing, McLean admitted controlling Ms Haston’s movements and insisting she enabled location tracking services on her phone.

He also admitted pushing her to her injury, repeatedly calling her derogatory and offensive names, sending abusive messages, and telling her who she could and could not meet.

McLean’s solicitor, Iain Smith, previously said in court his client was willing to be educated and that the consequences of his offending had already been significant.

He said McLean had lost his job and income, and his dreams of playing for his country had ended.

Sheriff Auchincloss was also told McLean had expressed regret for his actions.

In a statement issued following the sentencing, the Haston family said they were relieved that their four-year ordeal had concluded, but they had endured “more pain and suffering than any family should”.

“To be confronted by the knowledge that our daughter Cara has suffered serious abuse – under Section 1 of the Domestic Abuse Act – over such a prolonged period of time at the hands of the defendant is heart-breaking,” their statement said.

“Cara’s life has stood still, and so has that of our family. Unbelievably, Cara has had to endure continued verbal abuse from members of the rugby community.

“She is the…

Read More: Rufus McLean: Domestic abuse rugby union player given community sentence 2023-03-16 16:09:01

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