A pal of Rangers star Kenny Miller has been cleared of threatening to stab a woman after the footballer’s wife was hurt in a restaurant brawl.
Billy Steele faced charges following the disturbance at Da Luciano in Bothwell hours after an Old Firm match.
A jury found him not guilty of brandishing a blade at Stacey O’Donnell and threatening to stab her and her dad, businessman Hugh. A charge that he had an offensive weapon was found not proven.
Charges that Steele (36), of Eaglesham, tried to extort £95,000 from members of the O’Donnell family by threatening them at their homes in Bothwell last November were dropped earlier.
Mr Miller and his wife, Laura, gave evidence on behalf of Steele. Both said he didn’t have a knife and had simply arrived at the scene to drive them away.
Ms O’Donnell (28) allegedly told police officers she feared for her life after Steele ran at her while brandishing a knife.
Hamilton Sheriff Court heard it happened after a heated argument involving Ms O’Donnell and Mrs Miller.
However, Ms O’Donnell told Michael McIntosh, prosecuting, she couldn’t remember all she’d said to police and denied ever being afraid of Steele whom she’s known for years.
Ms O’Donnell made a statement to police in November. It described how she was leaving the restaurant with her young child after a row with Mrs Miller.
The disturbance happened after Rangers had lost 5-1 to Celtic in an SPL game. Miller was at Da Luciano with his wife.
In her statement Ms O’Donnell said Steele drew up in his Range Rover, got out and ran towards her.
The statement continued: “He was shouting at me and holding a knife. I was terrified and told him I was pregnant and shouted at him not to stab me.
“Kenny Miller ran towards us, shouting ‘Billy, you’re an idiot. What are you doing? Get in the car’.
“He seemed to listen to Kenny, put the knife away and got into the car with Kenny and Laura.
“They drove off and he shouted out of the window ‘You and your dad are getting stabbed tonight’.
“Initially I didn’t give a statement because I was terrified about what he would do. I was in fear of my life.
“I have never felt so scared. He was less than a metre away from me.”
Asked about her statement, Ms O’Donnell told Mr McIntosh she hadn’t lied to the police, but she couldn’t agree with all that had been recorded.
She insisted Steele didn’t have a knife and that she wasn’t “terrified”, merely annoyed that there was trouble in the presence of her child. She also denied that Steele threatened to stab her and her dad, but couldn’t explain how all of this had made its way into the police statement.
Ms O’Donnell rejected a claim that her dad had instructed her not to tell the court what really happened.
The prosecutor said: “You have come to court determined to avoid questions that might incriminate Billy Steele.
“This is because your father is someone who would rather sort out this kind of thing by himself.”